Sri Lankan scientists target brain disease market

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lankan scientists are seeking partnerships with foreign firms and research outfits to develop medicines using native herbs and plants to tackle neurological disorders, estimated to be a trillion dollar market.

The potential to use natural products to treat or delay the onset of neurological degenerative disorders was big and growing, said Ranil de Silva, a professor at Sri Jayewardenepura University.

“There’s no known cure for neurological degenerative diseases,” said de Silva, of the university’s Department of Anatomy in the Faculty of Medical Sciences.

“At 65 years the likelihood of developing stroke or dementia or both is over one in three. The odds are we all indirectly experience the devastating consequences of these diseases. It’s a global issue but also a personal one.”

The gravity of the issue was shown by the cost of treatment of neurodegenerative disorders estimated at a trillion US dollars globally, de Silva told a symposium on natural products that brought together academics, inventors, policymakers and businesspeople.

“We are looking for international collaboration for enhancing the global marketability of our own unique natural products to safeguard and protect brain health,” de Silva said. 

Sri Lankan scientists aim to form private-public partnerships with international collaboration for research and development of natural products like tea and native herbs and plants, he said.

“Our aim is to develop cost effective natural products, cost effective therapeutic approaches using our own natural products and ayurvedic medicine.”
This would pave the way to develop patented natural products, de Silva said. (Colombo/December 31, 2015)

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