Current Affairs 2017 (August)

India-Myanmar to sign MoU for conservation of quake-damaged Pagodas at Bagan

The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Myanmar for conservation of earthquake-damaged pagodas at Bagan, Myanmar.

The MoU will be signed during official state visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Myanmar during 6-7 September 2017.

Pagodas are Buddhist temple, typically in the form of a many-tiered tower, built in traditions originating as stupa in historic South Asia. Pagodas at Bagan are one of the premier tourist attractions of Myanmar.

Significance of Project

Implementation of conservation project will strengthen India’s enduring ties in cultural and religious sphere with Myanmar. It will also generate immense goodwill for India among people of Myanmar due to religious significance as well as touristic significance of project. It will also contribute to India’s development partnership with Myanmar. It will provided opportunity to showcase India’s expertise in conservation and restoration of monuments.

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IIT Researchers develops bioartificial implantable pancreas

Researchers from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati have successfully created an implantable bioartificial pancreas model grown within 3D silk scaffold.

The bioartificial pancreas encapsulates insulin-producing beta cells, capable of naturally producing insulin in sustained manner. If successful in animal and human trials, it can be used for treating people with Type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes arises when the body’s immune system kills the insulin-producing beta cells.

Key Facts

The 3D silk scaffold was found to be biocompatible (not toxic to living tissue) as it did not trigger any immune reaction or cause any adverse reaction after implanted. It was made porous by using salt grains of specific size to dissolve the silk proteins. These pores were 400-500 micrometre in size which allowed glucose and oxygen to enter scaffold and insulin released by beta cells with greater survival rate to enter bloodstream.

The scaffold containing beta cells was coated with a semi-permeable membrane barrier. The membrane allowed insulin produced to be released into blood stream and does not allow immune cells to cross membrane and kill the islet cells.

To ensure that the implant is not rejected by the body’s immune system, drugs that suppress the immune system were embedded in the scaffold. Studies carried in lab showed that beta cells in scaffold were able to produce adequate amount of insulin in response to different glucose levels within a few seconds.

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