Podcast 10: Drug loaded in nanovesicles improves cancer drug delivery

IISER Pune researchers have increased the uptake of poorly water-soluble anticancer drug by loading it in nanovesicles that self-assemble. The nanovesicles can be loaded with both hydrophilic and hydrophobic drugs. The encapsulated drug produced 94% silencing of the target AURKA leading to 25% inhibition of RalA. As a result, there was 38% inhibition of anchorage independent growth of cancer cells — metastasis


Podcast 9: How cholesterol helps bacterial toxins kill cells

IISc researchers have found cholesterol present in cell membrane playing a central role in the two-step process of stabilising and binding together the pore-forming toxin Cytolysin A. On binding to cholesterol, the structure of the toxin protein that is bound to the cell membrane undergoes a change and is also stabilised. Cholesterol is also essential in holding together the molecules before the toxin forms the pore.


Podcast 8: Prolonging the stemness of mesenchymal stem cells

In a breakthrough, IIT Bombay researchers could ensure that human mesenchymal stem cells could multiply and retain their stemness (stem cell-like nature) for up to 51 days (20 generations) and differentiate into bone, cartilage or fat cells. The trick was to use soft hydrogel plates in place of the usually used plastic plates to culture the stem cells. A huge difference in the doubling time was seen — 512 times more stem cells were obtained when they were cultured on gel than on plastic plates.


Podcast 7: Developing bioactive wound dressing, skin graft

IIT Guwahati researchers have developed bioactive wound dressings and bio-artificial skin by using silkworm silk fibroin as matrix and coating it with recombinant spider silk proteins. The recombinant spider silk reduced bacterial population by nearly four-fold and showed good anti-biofilm properties and recruited cells to the site of wound. The skin graft was bilayered (demis and epidermis) and vascularised.


Podcast 6: The novel role of OVGP1 protein in embryo implantation

Mumbai-based researchers have discovered how the embryo signals the endometrium to express the OVGP1 protein for a brief period at the time of implantation. They found that the OVGP1 protein is required for balancing the expression of a few genes required for embryo implantation. This work in long term might have implications in management of infertility.


Podcast 5: Possibility of finding a promising target to reduce TB’s tissue-damaging effects

IGIB researchers have for the first time discovered that necrosis in granulomas result in the development of lipid-rich foamy macrophages, thus overthrowing the general belief that TB bacteria make the host cells accumulate lipids. They also report for the first time that foamy macrophages show more inflammatory response than normal macrophages. So targeting the tissue-damaging effects of inflammation may be helpful in TB patients.


Podcast 4: How bacteria develop resistance even when not exposed to antibiotics

Dr. Shraddha Karve and other researchers at IISER Pune found that when E. coli are subjected to different stresses simultaneously and in a unpredictable manner they evolved to tolerate novel stresses that they were never exposed to such as antibiotics and heavy metals. Also, the ability to cope with stress was significantly better when the exposure to complex, unpredictable environment continued for 100 days than 30 days.


Podcast 3: FDA-approved asthma drug effectively treats TB

Archita Mishra and other researchers from IISc found a FDA-approved asthma drug can be used for treating TB. Laboratory studies found the drug to be more effective in curtailing the growth of TB bacteria when used alone and in combination with anti-TB drugs — rifampicin and isoniazid. The drug was also able to prevent the bacteria from causing inflammation thereby proving to be more potent in killing the microbes. In mice models too the drug was effective in killing the TB bacteria both when used alone and in combination with rifampicin.


Podcast 2: Latent TB of the uterus can cause infertility

Dr. Padma Rekha Jirge and other Indian researchers have for the first time found an association between latent TB of the endometrium and fewer eggs in the ovary (low ovarian reserve) in infertile women. Though how latent TB actually causes this reduction is not known, treating the infection led to significant improvement in pregnancy outcomes in infertile women.


Podcast 1: Nandita Venkatesan is a fighter despite losing her hearing due to TB treatment

When she woke up after a short afternoon nap on November 22, 2013, two days after her 24th birthday, Nandita Venkatesan could see her mother and brother talking to her but could understand nothing; she could hear sounds but could not comprehend them. The noisy world around her almost fell silent. Her hearing loss was 80 per cent in the left ear and 50-60 per cent in the right ear. It has since deteriorated to over 90 per cent in both ears. The villain was the second-line anti-tuberculosis injection kanamycin that she had had for about three months.