Indian- American Scientist Sangeeta Bhatia developed cheap paper diagnostic for cancer

Screenshot_2The Indian-American scientist, Ms. Sangeeta Bhatia developed a simple, cheap, paper test that could improve cancer diagnosis rates and help people to get treated earlier. Ms. Bhatia is professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

About the paper diagnostic test for cancer

The diagnostic, which works much like a pregnancy test, could reveal within minutes, based on a urine sample, whether a person has cancer. The synthetic biomarker technology relies on nano-particles that interact with tumour proteins called proteases, each of which can trigger release of hundreds of biomarkers that are then easily detectable in a patient’s urine.

  • Concept of synthetic biomarker technology: To amplify signals from tumor proteins (that would be hard to detect on their own) by injecting special nanoparticles into the body.
  • These proteins are known as Matrix Metallo Proteinase (MMP) that help cancer cells to escape from their original locations by cutting through proteins of the extra cellular matrix, which normally holds cells in place.
  • These nanoparticles, coated with peptides (short protein fragments), can interact with tumour proteins called proteases. In a patient’s body, these particles congregate at tumour sites, where cancer proteases cleave the peptides, which then accumulate in the kidneys and are excreted in the patient’s urine.
  • These biomarkers are easily detectable using an approach known as a lateral flow assay, the same technology used in pregnancy tests. In tests in mice, the researchers were able to accurately identify colon tumours, as well as blood clots. 

Note: As per the current version of the technology, patients would first receive an injection of the nanoparticles, and then urinate onto the paper test strip. To make the process more convenient, the researchers are now working on a nanoparticle formulation that could be implanted under the skin for longer-term monitoring.

“1322”- security helpline number launched by Northern Railway for passengers

Screenshot_1Northern Railway launched 24 x 7 security helpline No.1322 to provide speedy assistance to passengers in the event of thefts, harassment and other criminal incidents on rail premises.

The call can be made from a landline or mobile number.
Once a passenger calls the helpline, a unique complaint number will be generated and provided to the complainant to be followed for necessary action.
The security helpline service will be managed by Railway Protection Force (RPF).

At present, the facility will be operational in 731 stations of the Northern zone covering Ambala, Ferozpur, Moradabad, Delhi and Lucknow divisions. 

Future Plan: To launch “1322” as an all India helpline number for Railway passengers.