Saumya Perera

Evaluation of synergistic effects of a multi-herb combination used for the treatment of osteoarthritis


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a long term chronic disabling disease characterised by the destruction of cartilage in joints, which causes stiffness, pain and impaired movements. Topical and oral drugs such as analgesics, corticosteroids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are most commonly used to reduce symptoms and improve patient's quality of life despite the side effects associated with their long-term use. Therefore, complementary therapies have been gaining importance in the management of OA. Also, OA is a typical example of a complex pathophysiological disease that involves many risk factors and therapeutic targets. Therefore, to holistically manage OA, combination therapy may present a practical solution. C.longa, B.serrata and Z.officinale are popular medicinal herbs that have been extensively used in combination for the treatment of OA. Many study designs have been developed to assess synergy in two compounds; amazingly, limited studies have been done to screen for synergism in the multi-compound study.

In Saumya's PhD project, three herb combinations of Boswellia serrataZingiber officinale (ginger) and Curcuma longa (curcumin) extracts will be investigated to elucidate possible synergistic interactions in various in-vitro model related to OA. Also, a novel activity balancing design will be introduced to screen synergism in multi-herb combinations.

Saumya obtained a Bachelor degree with honours in Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science from the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka. Throughout her studies, she found that pharmacology was an area of particular interest to her, which lead her to undertake her PhD. In the future, Saumya would like to build up her career as a researcher and utilise her experience and knowledge to benefit the world of science.


Supervisors:

Srinivas Nammi; Professor Dennis Chang; Professor Alan Bensoussan
Funded by the NICM and Blackmores Institute Scholarship Program