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“SOMAH Solution- to preserve donated organs”; developed by Indian origin doctor Dr. Hemant Thatte

An Indian origin doctor, Dr. Hemant Thatte developed a 21-chemical solution known as SOMAH Solution that could preserve a donated organ for up to a week before a transplant.

  • Dr. Hemant Thatte is a senior cardiovascular surgeon at HarvardUniversity.

What is SOMAH Solution?

SOMAH Solution in Sanskrit means elixir of immortality.

  • The new preservative that is a mixture of 21 chemicals, has the potential to store the heart (and other organs) for up to 7 days.
  • A research paper published in the medical journal Circulation in October 2009 showed cells of organs preserved in SOMAH had a lower rate of death than in another preservation solution.
  • The biggest advantage of SOMAH is that it can be used at room temperatures. 

Presently, hearts and lungs need to be transplanted within 4-6 hours of being recovered from a brain-dead donor, the liver within 8 hours and kidneys within a bit more than 24 hours. In addition, the available organs cannot be transported long-distance for transplant and have to be made available locally.

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Dua’s layer: Dr. Harminder Singh Dua, Indian origin UK doctor discovered new layer of cornea

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To cure blindness of eye due to glaucoma, Professor Harminder Singh Dua from the Nottingham University discovered an ultra-thin layer hidden deep in the human cornea that can help treat glaucoma. (He is an Indian origin UK doctor).

About the new layer discovered by Mr. Dua

This 15 microns thick new layer also known as Dua’s layer.
Located at the back of the cornea between the corneal stroma and Descemet’s membrane.
Plays a vital role in the structure of the tissue that controls the flow of fluid from the eye.
Makes an important contribution to the sieve-like trabecular meshwork called the Trabecular Meshwork (TM) in the periphery of the cornea.
Benefit of this discovery: It will offer new clues on why the drainage system malfunctions in the eyes of some people, leading to high pressure.

  • The study was published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology. 

Previously, Scientists believed that the cornea consists of five layers- from front to back— the corneal epithelium, Bowman’s layer, the corneal stroma, Descemet’s membrane and the corneal endothelium.

What is Trabecular Meshwork (TM)?

TM is a wedge-shaped band of tissue that extends along the circumference of the angle of the anterior chamber of the eye. It is made of beams of collagen wrapped in a basement membrane to which trabecular cells and endothelial cells attach. The beams branch out randomly to form a ‘meshwork’.

  • Pressure within the eye is maintained by the balance of aqueous fluid production by eye tissue called the ciliary body and drainage principally through the TM to the canal of Schlemm, a circular channel in the angle of the eye.
  • Defective drainage through the TM is an important cause of glaucoma, a condition that leads to raised pressure in the eye that can permanently affect sight. 

Note: Glaucoma is a devastating disease caused by defective drainage of fluid from the eye and is the world’s second leading cause of blindness.

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Dr. VV Dongre and Prof. Guocheng Zhang bagged International Gandhi Award 2013

The President of India, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee presented the International Gandhi Award for the year 2013 to Dr. Vijaykumar Vinayak Dongre and Prof. Guocheng Zhang for making outstanding contributions in the field of leprosy to eradicate the disease through treatment, training and research at Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi.

International Gandhi Award
  • Instituted by the Gandhi Memorial Leprosy Foundation (GMLF) that was established in 1950 to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi’s service and scientific approach towards leprosy.
  • GMLF introduced the International Gandhi Award in 1986.
  • Recognizes the commendable contributions of individuals and institutions in ameliorating the quality of life of people afflicted with leprosy.
  • The two awards are given every alternate year to individuals/institutions for making outstanding contribution in the field of leprosy.

Note: Leprosy is an infectious disease that causes severe, disfiguring skin sores and nerve damage in the arms and legs.

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