The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) organized the first workshop for training in Reverse Pharmacology (RP) at Kasturba Health Society- Medical Research Centre in Mumbai. Dr Arun Jamkar, Vice Chancellor, Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) inaugurated the workshop.
At the workshop, the 22 trainees were from diverse streams – Ayurveda, modern medicine, pharmacology, biochemistry and physics. They represented institutes like Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, Nashik, Central Council for Research in Ayurveda, Institute of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, Bengaluru, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, amongst others.
The fortnight-long workshop from March 26 to April 9 was carefully divided into the experiential, exploratory and experimental domains of RP. Affiliated to leading industry and research organizations, the faculty – nearly 40 in number – presented the conceptual basis of RP, supported by their scientific studies, within the respective domains.
The workshop included site visits to advanced research units at KEM Hospital, Topiwala Nair Medical College, National Institute of Research in Reproductive Health, Therapeutic Drug Monitoring unit and also a medicinal plantation at Naman Trust.
Reverse Pharmacology, as a novel trans-discipline for drug discovery, has caught the imagination of the Pharmaceutical R & D. The path of Reverse Pharmacology, enunciated by Dr Ashok Vaidya, an eminent clinical scientist, in the early seventies, involves a journey from medicine to molecule or bedside to bench, unlike the ruling paradigm of molecules to medicine. India, with her pluralistic health care, offers a very rich reservoir of novel clinical observations. These bedside serendipitous discoveries or hits can be developed into drug leads and candidates by the RP path.
In 2007, the ICMR established the Advanced Centre of Reverse Pharmacology in Traditional Medicine – the first of its kind in the world – under the aegis of Kasturba Health Society (KHS)-Medical Research Center, Mumbai. KHS manages a 1000-bed Kasturba Hospital and a model rural medical college, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS) at Sewagram, Wardha. It was initiated by Mahatma Gandhi as a small rural hospital, for women and children, which was nurtured for decades by Dr.Sushila Nayyar.