The working complexities of our immune system holds great awe for anyone who attempts to understand it. A pathogen that manages to invade our bodies and then elude our immune system is equally intriguing.
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Glioblastoma (GBM) is a grade IV brain cancer. And in cancers, grade IV is as high as it gets. In other words, GBM is an extremely aggressive tumor with low survival expectancy -- not more than 2 years. The aggressiveness of this tumour is attributed to the high relapse rates in patients, even in those who receive combinatorial radiation and chemotherapy following surgery.
The human body employs multiple mechanisms to protect itself. Inflammations are one of them. An inflammation in the biological context refers to the congregation of cells and molecules each with the sole intent of destroying or mitigating a potentially harmful stimulus. This process orchestrated by our immune system assumes great importance as stage one security against pathogens. The itchy bumps on our skin following a mosquito bite or the painful sore throat that follows a viral throat infection are common and though irritating, beneficial examples of the process.
Glioblastomas are a highly aggressive form of adult brain tumor, and also tend to be very common. Patients survive for 15 months on an average from the time of diagnosis. Current therapies are effective only for a few patients. The development of new drugs and therapies is limited by a better understanding of which molecules to target. Also, the conventional glioblastoma (GBM) diagnosis methods such as MRI or CT scan are costly, laborious, and offer little in terms of identifying novel target molecules.
Not many of us appreciate the number of pathological insults hurled at our bodies on a daily basis. We really don’t need to, since our immune systems do an exemplary job of safeguarding us from many of the microorganisms that constantly assault our bodies. The first level of defence proffered by our body against any molecule or organism it perceives as ‘alien’ and therefore dangerous is called “innate immunity”. This form of immunity is generic in action as it attacks any ‘foreign agent’, unlike the memory-based immunity which works specifically against pathogens that our body has encountered earlier.
Dr. Amit Singh’s laboratory from Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, and Dr. Harinath Chakrapani’s group from IISER, Pune, have found a new way to kill the tuberculosis bacteria, by using novel compounds which disturb the internal environment of the bacterial cell.
How mistakes in gene pathways can provide insights into the actual function of plant genes.
Researchers have successfully tested a drug delivery system in mice that can be controlled remotely with micro-shock waves. This innovative system carries medicine in tiny capsules, and delivers them when hit by a micro-shock wave.
The mechanism by which two small molecules work against the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) has been deciphered at IISc. These molecules are in fact antidepressants and their derivatives!
We sometimes hear of post-surgery infections, which can even result in untimely death. A single efficient drug with the potential to combat the sudden and rapid spread of sepsis in the intensive care units of hospitals has been developed.