Q BioMed said today it will partner with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) and the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) to develop a chemotherapeutic technology to treat liver cancer.

The value of the collaboration was not disclosed by Q BioMed, a biomedical acceleration and development company.

Q BioMed said the technology will use uttroside B and its derivatives as a chemotherapeutic agent against hepatocellular carcinoma. Uttroside B is a saponin derived from Solanum nigrum Linn., a plant widely used in traditional medicine, that showed efficacy against liver cancer in a preclinical study published November 3 in Scientific Reports, a Nature journal.

According to the study, researchers showed that in animal models, uttroside B was 10 times more cytotoxic to the HepG2 liver cancer cell line than the only drug currently approved by the FDA for liver cancer, sorafenib, which is marketed as Nexavar® in the U.S. by Bayer—and did not cause noticeable side effects in vitro or in vivo.

Uttroside B drastically shrunk tumors in mice bearing human liver cancer xenografts, the study found. And in preclinical experiments uttroside B induced cytotoxicity in all liver cancer cell lines, irrespective of their hepatitis B virus status, while being nontoxic to normal immortalized hepatocytes.

“We are encouraged by the preclinical results we observed in this data and look forward to working with our collaborators at OMRF and RGCB to carry out further preclinical and clinical evaluation of uttroside B,” Q BioMed CEO Denis Corin said in a statement. “Our ultimate goal is to use it as an effective chemotherapeutic against liver cancer, which currently has very few therapeutic options.”

OMRF is an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institute focused on developing treatments for human diseases. RGCB is an autonomous national institution fully owned by the Government of India that carries out research in cellular and molecular mechanisms of human animal and plant disease.

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