Diabetes Current Affairs - 2020

Injectable Silk-Fibroin based Hydrogel developed by JNCASR

The JNCASR (Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research) has developed injectable silk-fibroin based hydrogel to deliver sustained insulin to diabetic patients.

The fibroin-based hydrogel was developed using biocompatible additives. The gel developed will ease insulin delivery in diabetic patients. The gel was first tested in rats and was successful.

Highlights

The researchers have found that subcutaneous injection of insulin with fibroid based hydrogel formed an active depot under the skin. This helped to leach out insulin, restore physiological glucose for a longer period of time.

Diabetes

The body cells of Diabetic patients do not get glucose. This is because insulin that helps glucose in blood reach body cells is not secreted properly in these patients.

The fibroin-based hydrogel increases insulin level in the blood for a longer period. The scientists found that it made insulin available in the blood for even four days without lowering blood glucose.

What is Fibroin?

Fibroin is an insoluble protein. Silk has two proteins in its raw state called sericin and fibroin. The fibroin is produced by silk worm. It has three chains and light and heavy glycoprotein.

What is a Hydrogel?

A Hydrogel is a network of polymer chains. They are made of polyvinyl alcohol, acrylate polymers and sodium polyacrylate and copolymers.

Applications of Hydrogel

Hydrogels are highly absorbent. They are used in tissue engineering. The hydrogels that are responsive specific molecules are used as biosensors. They are also used in diapers and sanitary napkins. They are also used in breast implants.

Injectable hydrogels are used as drug carriers.

What are smart hydrogels?

The smart hydrogels are used in artificial intelligence systems. They are environmentally sensitive. They have the ability to sense changes of temperature, pH, concentration of metabolite, etc.

ICMR: Task Force on Gene Therapy

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will set up a task force on gene therapy in order to encourage research in the field. The purpose of setting up the task force is to explore gene editing based therapeutic approaches that will treat illness.

Highlights

The task force will work on genetic diseases affecting brain, eye disorders, muscles, heart, retina, cornea and blood disorders. The blood disorders include Thalassemia, Haemophilia and Sickle cell disease. The task force will also work on diseases such as diabetes, cancer and lung diseases. The work of the force will be completely abided to the guidelines on gene therapy released by ICMR.

Need

ICMR believes that many inherited disorders are not treated by existing drugs and therapies. While the western world has stridden far ahead in the field in the last 30 years, India is lagging in the field. Around 70 million Indians suffer from rare diseases whose cure can be achieved through gene therapy.

Even with advancements, the countries leading in the field are still in the stage of clinical trials and have not yet proved the success of the therapies. To mention a few, ICMR states that drugs like Luxuturna used to treat Retinitis Pigmentosa (illness that affects retinal cells of human eye) and Yescarta used to in cell therapy to treat cancer are still in clinical trial phase.

Therefore, it is important to build a strong task force that will work exclusively on gene therapy.