Srinagar: Strife torn Kashmir has earned a rare honour after a 38-year-old scientist, along with 13 other internationally reputed researchers, identified a new gene ‘DHX15’ that has a role in prostate cancer progression. Dr Khalid Zaffar Masoodi, assistant professor and team leader at the Transcriptomics Laboratory, Division of Plant Biotechnology in Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Sciences and Technology (SKUAST), Kashmir, was a part of the study carried out in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh, USA. The study has been published in February 2018 issue of Nature Oncogene, a top rated Journal from Nature publishing group. The study is the first to reveal how DHX15 over-expression is associated with prostate cancer recurrence. “We were astonished to find that DHX15 had a role in cancer’s spread round the body. But to discover how it also appears to drive the growth of prostate cancer cells is a real game changer,” said Dr. Masoodi. A native of Srinagar, Dr Masoodi completed Ph.D in Biotechnology from University of Jammu before moving to University of Pittsburg for post doctorate for four years. After return, he joined SKUAST in 2014 and since then has been working as Assistant Professor and Team Leader at the Transcriptomics Laboratory, Division of Plant Biotechnology. “We screened two lakh molecules for discovery of new drugs against prostate cancer. We found three good drugs which are better than FDI approved drug in the market. Since we are in the agriculture university and farmer is our mandate and we have found lately that there is increase of breast cancer, ovarian cancer or prostate cancer. It is because of overuse of pesticides and fungicides because they act on the receptors”, said Dr Masoodi. The clinical trials of the drug are yet to take off but the results in the mouses have shown remarkable results. “It has been tested in mouse model and clinical trials will take time. It has succeed in the mouse model and it is better than the FDI approved drug”, he said.