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DBT to open eProMIS to accept proposals from researchers on Chronic & Lifestyle Disease Programme

Gireesh Babu, New Delhi
Monday, January 9, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) will shortly be opening its electronic project management information system (eProMIS) to accept proposals from eligible researchers under its Chronic and Lifestyle Disease Programme.

The Programne supports research on chronic diseases with major thrust on metabolic disorders. It aims to support basic, clinical, translational and interdisciplinary research in focused high disease burden areas such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, liver & kidney disorders, autoimmune diseases, skin, bone & muscular diseases, eye disorders etc. thereby benefiting the Indian population through biotechnology based innovations.

In addition to support R&D activities focusing on the biology and pathophysiology of the disease, the present thrust is to leverage advanced cutting edge technologies and innovations for combating chronic diseases through interdisciplinary approach in order to develop early screening tools, identify predictive biomarkers, develop risk stratification models and to accelerate the development of diagnostic and therapeutic tools, products and processes for medical applications, said DBT.

"Chronic or non-communicable diseases are on the rise across the globe accounting for 73% of all deaths. In India, non-communicable diseases account for 53% of all deaths and 44 % of disability-adjusted life-years lost. India is home to more than a sixth of the world’s population and has been witnessing rapid epidemiological transition i.e, a shift towards chronic non-communicable diseases along with socio-economic development," said the Department.

India has the highest number of people with diabetes in the world with around 77 million living with diabetes and a projection of 134 million by 2045 (International Diabetes Federation). India suffers loss of life at an early age due to cardiovascular disease which accounts for one fourth of all deaths.

"India is recording a steep increase in hypertension both in rural and urban populations. The National Health Policy of India, in accordance with Sustainable Development Goals, aims to reduce the premature mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCD) by one-third by 2030," it averrs.

The DBT also refers to a few success stories it has already achieved through the programme, including a tailor-made peptidomimetics designing against Human Islet Amyloid Polypeptide (hIAPP) aggregation on pancreas which is known to affect normal beta cell function and result in various diseases.

The study supported at IIT, Guwahati and Bose Institute, Kolkata, a novel beta-sheet breaker peptidomimetics (BSBHps) and cyclic cBSBHps were developed to inhibit hIAPP fibrillation and disruption of already formed fibril to non-toxic oligomers. The designed peptides were shown to protect the model beta cell membrane from its damage by hIAPP, suggesting that the designed peptides are effective to inhibit the hIAPP induced membrane disruption with more pronounced effect with cyclic peptides, said the Department.

The other successful projects included effect of rifampicin and its analogs on glucose-induced lifespan shortening and Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGE) modifications, translational research studies on some disorders of the eye, a study on early atherosclerosis, among others.

It added that a Centre of Excellence on Metabolic Regulation of Cell Fate was supported at inStem, Bengaluru.  A state of the art LC/MS/MS based capabilities for targeted, quantitative metabolic analysis, which includes stable-isotope based metabolic flux analysis has been established here. Through this, highly sensitive, quantitative methods have been developed to analyse central carbon (tricarboxylic cycle, glycolysis, the pentose phosphate pathway), nitrogen (amino acid and nucleotide), and sulphur (SAM cycle, and all methionine related) metabolism. Various training programs were conducted providing hands-on access to >25 students/postdocs across campus.

Some of the other achievements through the program include development of a comprehensive screening platform in Drosophila to identify metabolic signalling components in blood cells; identification of a requirement for methionine as a metabolic bottleneck for function of an immune cell type. Demonstrated a mechanism that regulates the uptake of methionine in the adaptation to nutrient stress; identification of an unusual role for Notch in control of lipid metabolism in blood cells, essential for normal blood cell function, for the first time, among others.


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