India, Sweden start four joint research projects in tuberculosis
Sweden start four joint research projects in tuberculosis
The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Swedish Governmental Agency
for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA), will initiate four joint research
projects in the field of biology, diagnosis and treatment of
tuberculosis. While the DBT has allocated around Rs 5 crore for the
project, the Swedish government has earmarked $1 million (about Rs 4.79
crore) for this top level research co-operation between India and
Under this research co-operation agreement between the two countries,
four Indo-Swedish projects, out of a total of 15 proposals, have been
selected by DBT and VINNOVA for funding in the next three years.
The four joint research projects that started from September 2009,
include doctor’s office, diagnostic instrument for detection
of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) in the field conditions
adapted for use by unskilled personnel; mechanisms of protein
synthesis and ribosome targeting antibiotic drugs in mycobacteria;
biology of gene-deleted M. tuberculosis strains - immunological marker
profiling; and structure-guided design of new antibacterial agents
against dormant M. tuberculosis.
In June 2009, both the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science
and Technology, and Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation
Systems, agreed to support top level research co-operation
between Indian and Swedish scientists in the field of biology,
diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis.
The program is one of the first bilateral co-operations, based on joint
funding, between the two countries. Under this scheme, VINNOVA will
fund the Swedish research teams and DBT will fund the Indian side.
Institute selects BioServe for diabetes study
BioServe, a provider of clinical biosamples and research services with
operations in India and the US, has been selected by the Fairbanks
Institute for Healthy Communities to process all biological samples for
its landmark longitudinal study of type II diabetes.
This is the second phase of the Indiana Health Study, a community-based
research initiative using Central Indiana population. According to
Fairbanks, the study participants creates a research platform that will
lead to the development of new drugs and diagnostics for chronic
diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
BioServe is currently processing samples for the first study of
coronary artery disease that commenced in 2008. Dr Cynthia
Helphingstine, president and CEO, Fairbanks Institute, said,
“Extending our relationship with BioServe for this important
phase II study on type II diabetes was an easy decision.”
Rama Modali, president, BioServe, said, “We are excited to
continue to be working with The Fairbanks Institute to further
understand the dynamics between chronic diseases, genetic polymorphisms
and environmental risk factors that increase the risk of
unravel secret of youthful skin
Scientists from Singapore and Germany have made a novel discovery that
might lead to ways of reversing the effects of ageing and wrinkled
skin. The international team of scientists led by Dr Bruno Reversade
from A*STAR’s Institute of Medical Biology (IMB) discovered
that mutations in the PYCR1 gene cause a rare genetic condition which
results in premature skin ageing, known as ‘wrinkly skin
syndrome’. Their findings, which were published in
the September issue of the journal, Nature Genetics, provide insight
into how some unexpected genes help maintain youthful skin. This
research project is said to have involved collaborations with over 15
hospitals and research centers in 13 countries.
Using bioinformatics tools, Dr Reversade and his team analyzed rare DNA
samples collected from affected patients, who at a young age, displayed
signs of premature ageing. They identified the PYCR1 gene on chromosome
17 of these patients to be defective and found specific mutations in
the gene that led to conditions often seen in elderly people, such as
loose skin, loss of bone density, hip dislocation and cataract.
Furthermore, they determined that skin and bone were the two tissues
most severely affected in patients. As skin and bone contain high
levels of the PYCR1 protein under normal circumstances, developing
therapies that could increase the activity of the PYCR1 protein could
possibly reverse the process of ageing in affected individuals or slow
it down in normal people.
The scientists also found that inside cells, the PYCR1
protein is located in the mitochondria. In their experiments, they
observed changes in mitochondrial morphology and cell death in the
connective tissues of individuals with PYCR1 mutations.