Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and
Research (IISER) Pune have successfully developed a novel cancer drug
delivery system using graphene oxide nanoparticles.
In a serendipitous discovery, a team led by Dr. Sudipta Basu and
Dr. NirmalyaBhallav from the Department of Chemistry found that when a
FDA-approved anticancer drug cisplatin was added, the graphene oxide sheets
self-assembled into spherical nanoparticles enclosing the drug within.
Two DNA-damaging anticancer drugs — proflavine and doxorubicin —
that bind to graphene oxide through non-covalent bond were also used.
The nanoparticles of 90-120 nanometre size containing cisplatin
and either of the two anticancer drugs were taken up by cervical cancer cells
leading to programmed cell death. The results were published in the journal
The cisplatin nanoparticles containing either proflavine or
doxorubicin were found to get into the lysosomes of a cell in a time-dependent
Once inside the lysosomes, the drugs were released in a slow and
sustained manner and killed the cancer cells predominantly through programmed
In the case cisplatin nanoparticles containing proflavine, about
54% of proflavine was released in about 2 days while 22% of cisplatin was
released after three days.
For cisplatin nanoparticles containing doxorubicin, more (33%)
of cisplatin and less (22%) of doxorubicin were released after three days.
Though the study found that comparable concentration of
doxorubicin and proflavine was required to kill 50% of the cells at the end of
48 hours, Dr. Basu prefers to use doxorubicin.
NASA is launching a sounding rocket CHESS on June 27 to
study vast interstellar clouds and know about the earliest stages of star
The Colorado High-resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph will
measure light filtering through the interstellar medium, which provides crucial
information for understanding the lifecycle of stars.
In the space between distant stars there drift vast clouds of
neutral atoms and molecules, as well as charged plasma particles that may, over
millions of years, evolve into new stars and even planets.
CHESS will train its eye at Beta Scorpii — a hot, brightly
shining star in the Scorpius constellation well-positioned for the instrument to
probe the material between the star and our own solar system.
This is the third flight for the CHESS payload in the past three
years, and the most detailed survey yet.
Some IT experts identified the virus as “Petrwrap”, a modified
version of the Petya ransomware which hit last year and demanded money from
victims in exchange for the return of their data.
But global cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab said: “Our
preliminary findings suggest that it is not a variant of Petya ransomware as
publically reported, but a new ransomware that has not been seen before,” which
it named “NotPetya”.
The cyberattack also recalled a ransomware outbreak last month
which hit more than 150 countries and a total of more than 200,000 victims with
the WannaCry ransomware.
Research from Florida Institute of Technology in the US,
published in Geophysical Research Letters shows that lightning can be much more
powerful over the ocean than land.
The new study validates for the first time through independent
measurement previously formed beliefs that strikes over sea water tend to be
It could inform how off-shore infrastructure and vessels are to
be built to minimise the risk of super-powerful lightning bolts.
In their study, which measured peak currents of various
cloud-to-ground lightning strikes over land and ocean from 2013 to 2015,
researchers calculated the duration of the “negative stepped leader” — the
electrical channel that moves down towards ground from a thundercloud.
When the leader touches ground, a surge of current, typically
with a peak value of around 30 kilo amperes, flows upward to the cloud.
The durations of negative stepped leaders over the ocean were
significantly shorter than those over land, indicating they carry more charge in
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru,
have synthesised a small molecule that shows a degree of promise as an
In particular, the inhibitor was effective against leukaemia.
The work was done in collaboration with researchers from the University of
The molecule (a benzothiazole derivative), codenamed 5g, was
found to be effective in inhibiting cell proliferation in both leukaemia and
breast cancer cell lines.
This was achieved by arresting a particular phase (G2/M) of the
cell cycle, thereby preventing cancer cells from dividing and growing in number.
But a small-scale study carried out on approximately 5,000
people living in 30 tribal villages in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh
was able to improve the practice of seeking out mental health care
The intervention was carried out for three months from November
2015 to January 2016 by involving 21 ASHA workers and two primary health care
doctors who were trained for about 10 days.
A mobile technology-based mental health service delivery model
was used by ASHA workers and doctors for screening, diagnosing and treating
people with common mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, suicide risk
Of the nearly 5,000 people who were screened, 238 were
identified as being positive for common mental disorders and were referred to
primary care doctors for treatment.
Thirty of the 238 people visited a primary care doctor for
further diagnosis and treatment.
The percentage of people who sought mental health care shot up
from 0.8% at the beginning of the intervention to 12.6% at the end of the
three-month intervention period. The results were published in the Journal of
Considering that there were not sufficient mental health
professionals to treat all patients across the country, the study has been
successful in training ASHA workers and PHC doctors to provide basic mental
health care that included screening and providing treatment.
Prior to intervention, an anti-stigma campaign was carried out
for three months. The campaign improved the awareness level and changed the
attitude and behaviour related to mental health.