Monday March 25, 2019
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India to fund stem cell research, fight poverty as well

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Kolkata: The remarkable ability of the human foetus to heal wounds without scars is still a mystery to scientists even after 30 long years. This yet unsolvable mystery if solved, with the help of stem cell research, would hugely impact India with its disease burden but has to be balanced with the need to fight poverty, said a globally prominent regenerative medicine expert.

“A clinical observation that has stood the test of time is that human fetal wounds from surgery performed in the second trimester (early fetal stage) heal without scarring.”

“Unlocking the secret would make Bill Gates look relatively poor,” said Andrew Burd, centenary professor, department of regenerative medicine and translational science, School of Tropical Medicine, here.

Burd explained for over 30 years, the biological secrets of scarless healing in the fetus have eluded researchers and at the same time the fascination for regeneration – salamanders and newts regenerating entire organs – has grown.

Advances in molecular biology and stem cell technology have spurred research and introduction of technologies to generate new tissues and replace diseased cells.

“By unlocking the secret, we can remove the diseases related to scarring and we won’t have lung, kidney or heart disease etc..”

“But for India, pumping in money to boost infrastructure for stem cell research is “a question of balance”.

“It is fighting poverty and illiteracy but it can’t ignore its burden of disease,” Burd told reporters at the ‘Frontiers in Translational and Regenerative Biology’ conference here on Sunday.

While the US is “far ahead”, China is “storming along” and Europe shows “exceptional quality of research”, India is a “late starter” in the domain, said Burd an expert in plastic and reconstructive surgery.

“There is a lack of understanding and political difficulties. What people need to understand is that we are not taking away human embryosa we are taking placentas and umbilical cords which are supposed to be thrown away,” said Burd, who was earlier associated with the Chinese University of Hong Kong and in the healthcare sector in Britain. (IANS)

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New Medicine That Could Replace Insulin Injections

The tip of the needle is made of nearly 100 per cent compressed, freeze-dried insulin. 

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diabities
The tip of the needle is made of nearly 100 per cent compressed, freeze-dried insulin. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a drug capsule that could be used to deliver oral doses of insulin, potentially replacing injections for patients with Type-2 diabetes, says a new study.

About the size of a blueberry, the capsule contains a single and small needle made of compressed insulin, which is injected after the capsule reaches the stomach.

The study showed that the capsule could deliver enough insulin to lower blood sugar to levels comparable to those produced by injections given through skin. They also demonstrated that the device can be adapted to deliver other protein drugs.

diabities
About the size of a blueberry, the capsule contains a single and small needle made of compressed insulin, which is injected after the capsule reaches the stomach. VOA

“We are really hopeful that this new type of capsule could someday help diabetic patients and perhaps anyone who requires therapies that can now only be given by injection or infusion,” said Robert Langer, Professor at the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research in Britain.

The tip of the needle is made of nearly 100 per cent compressed, freeze-dried insulin.

When the capsule is swallowed, water in the stomach dissolves the sugar disk, releasing the spring and injecting the needle into the stomach wall.

The stomach wall has no pain receptors, so the patients would not be able to feel the prick of the injection. To ensure that the drug is injected into the stomach wall, the researchers designed their system so that no matter how the capsule lands in the stomach, it can orient itself so the needle is in contact with the lining of the stomach.

The findings, published in the journal Science, showed that the researchers could successfully deliver up to 300 micrograms of insulin.

insulin
The type of drug delivery could be useful for any protein drug that normally has to be injected, such as immunosuppressants used to treat rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease and may also work for nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA, according to the researchers. Pixabay

More recently, they have been able to increase the dose to 5 milligrams, which is comparable to the amount that a patient with Type-2 diabetes would need to inject.

Also Read: A New Hope for Acute Liver Failure Patients

Furthermore, no adverse effects from the capsule was found, which is made from biodegradable polymer and stainless steel components.

Importantly, this type of drug delivery could be useful for any protein drug that normally has to be injected, such as immunosuppressants used to treat rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease and may also work for nucleic acids such as DNA and RNA, according to the researchers. (IANS)