Swarn Nityanand did her MBBS from Lady Harding Medical College, New Delhi (1951). Thereafter, she worked as Senior Resident (1951-53), and then as In-charge, Air Force Family Welfare Centre, New Delhi (1953-54). After her marriage with Dr Nitya Anand, she joined King Georges Medical College, Lucknow (KGMC) as a postgraduate student and got her MD (Medicine) in 1960. She was a Research Fellow in Cardiology at Harvard Medical School (1958-59); joined Experimental Medicine Division (1961) and Head, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine (DC&EM) (1985) at Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow and remained Consultant (upon superannuation) at CDRI (1989-2001).
Academic and Research Achievements:Swarn Nityanand’s major research interests involved development of new drugs for hyperlipidemias and related disorders. In view of the critical role of experimental models simulating human disease in such studies, she established a battery of models for which CDRI got well-recognized; demonstrated that simultaneous administration of adrenalin with the atherosclerotic agents greatly accelerated the speed and severity of atherogenic process. Using these models, her group screened a number of products including plant extracts for hypolipidemic activity, and more promising of these were then taken up for preclinical development. Out of these, the ethyl acetate extract of guggul, resin from Commiphora mukul, a reputed drug of Ayurveda, named it Gugulipid, developed jointly with Dr Sukh Dev, Director, Malti-Chem Research Centre, Baroda, emerged as a hypolipidemic agent, approved as a new drug by DCGI, and licensed to CIPLA Labs, Mumbai for marketing. The most notable contribution of this discovery was the novel mode of action of Gugulipid, acting through modulation of bile acid receptors/excretion resulting in fat mobilization from fatty deposits. Guggulsterones Z&E, the active constituents of Gugulipid are now well recognized globally as a new class of hypolipidemic agents. She also coordinated the clinical studies undertaken by CDRI. Particularly challenging were the tasks of coordinating the Phase II & III studies of Centchroman, the non-steroidal weakly contraceptive pill, and Consap, the spermicidal cream. Centrchroman is already manufactured and marketed by Hindustan Latex as Saheli, while Consap is licensed and due for marketing. She guided four students for their PhD, and was a co-supervisor of many MD students of KGMC. She has published around 100 research papers in national and international journals.
Other Contributions:Apart from setting up the battery of experimental models for study of hypolipidemic drugs for which CDRI became a reputed centre, she also established the Clinical studies capability at CDRI, so that CDRI could conduct in-house Phase I studies and effectively coordinate the Phase II and III studies and carry out PMS studies. Her centre was accredited by WHO for serum lipid analysis.
Awards and Honours:Dr Swarn Nityanand was the recipient of Shri Dhanwantri Prize of INSA and the Vasvik Award.