Health Sector Current Affairs

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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NITI Aayog launches SATH Program

NITI Aayog has launched SATH-‘Sustainable Action for Transforming Human capital’ with the State Governments for furthering the agenda of cooperative federalism. 

Salient Highlights

NITI Aayog under the SATH initiative plans to identify and build three future ‘role model’ states for health systems.  

After identification of three states, NITI Aayog will work in close collaboration with the state machinery of these three states. It will help in designing a robust roadmap, develop a program governance structure, establish monitoring and tracking mechanisms, and provide support to the state institutions to achieve the end objectives.

SATH program will be implemented by NITI Aayog along with McKinsey & Company and IPE Global consortium.

Selection of States 

For selecting three model states, NITI Aayog spelled out three-stage process, namely, expression of interest, presentations by the states and assessment of commitment to health sector reforms.

Subsequently, 16 states expressed interest in the initiative out of which 14 states presented their project proposals-Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Punjab, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.

From these four states, NITI Aayog has shortlisted 5 states. After subsequent screening and evaluations, three states will be selected. Parameters such as MMR, IMR, incidence of malaria will be considered for determining potential impact, and metrics such as density of doctors and nurses, compliance to IPHS norms will be used to determine likelihood of success.

The program will be launched after signing of MoUs with these three selected states.

NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog is essentially an advisory body that seeks to provide critical directional and strategic inputs across spectrum of key elements of policy to the centre as well as states. The Government of India has established Niti Ayog as a “Think Tank” which has no power to impose policies. By establishing Niti Ayog the government wants to be an “enabler” and leaves the impetus to provide a platform for cooperative and competitive federalism to the newly established body.

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