Saturday, December 21, 2019

IIT-B scientists now develop cheaper tech to cure cancer

Source: THE TIMES OF INDIA-21st December,2019

In a breakthrough in research, IIT-Bombay scientists have developed technology to leverage a patient’s immune system to cure cancer. Such immunotherapy using CAR T-cells, a treatment for cancer, which costs Rs 3-4 crore in US, can be made available for Rs 15 lakh, if the technology is developed in the country.
Researchers made use of gene and cell therapies to reengineer immune cells to attack and kill cancer cells in the body. The treatment is less painful than surgery, chemotherapy or radiation, and is known to lower chances of a relapse. The therapy, which seems promising in the treatment of cancer, especially leukaemia, is currently not available in India. With the growing burden of cancer in the country, success in even a fraction of the patients using the technique will be remarkable, experts said.
Prof Rahul Purwar and his team of scientists from the institute’s Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering have conducted laboratory tests and hope to start clinical trials in collaboration with Dr Gaurav Narula from Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) next year, after getting permission from Drug Controller General of India (DCGI). A facility has been created for it at the hospital’s Kharghar campus.
T-cells (type of white blood cell or WBC), an integral part of the human immune system, can identify tumours and destroy them. But in advanced stages, the cancer cells adapt to the presence of T-cells and remain undetected. In the new approach in immunotherapy, called CAR (chimeric antigen receptors) T-cell therapy, the T-cells’ ability to detect and kill cancer cells is restored. CARs are protein that assist T-cells to recognise and attach to protein or antigen, present on cancer cells. These proteins help destroying cancer cells.
Purwar’s team has been working on CAR T-cell technology for six years. “It is an autologous cell therapy for personalised medicine, where cells are taken from patients, re-engineered and re-infused in the patient. We got immune cells from volunteers and clinical patients with help from TMH and re-engineered them using the technique. The modified cells were positively tested in laboratories on artificially grown cancer cells,” said Purwar.
“Our team has delved into strategies that would improve efficacy of the technique and demonstrated that a single injected dose can lead to multiplication of modified Tcells that can destroy cancer cells,” said Purwar.
A private firm is planning to in-licence the technology and is trying to make the therapy available for Indian patients for about Rs 35 lakh. Purwar and two researchers are working on the technology as part of their start-up ImmunoAdaptive Cell Therapy or ImmunoACT, which was incubated at IIT-B.
Globally, over 600 clinical trials are in progress for CAR T-cell therapy, many of which are on in China, said Dr Narula from TMH.
“It has got huge potential. With the cancer burden we have, the therapy will be considered a success, even if it applicable to only a fraction of patients currently. Technologies are being developed globally, but are exorbitant. The only way to cut costs is by developing the technology in India, which is why we have teamed up with IIT-B about four and a half years ago, long before the first therapy was approved for clinical use in US. There are high expectations from this technology as it can create pathways for developing newer technologies, for newer therapies, for more forms of cancer. Thousands of Asians can benefit,” said Narula.
He added that the therapy’s side effects can be managed. “It has worked on patients where two lines of treatments have failed. Even in the limited group, it works spectacularly,” said Narula.

Friday, December 20, 2019

IIT Bombay to invite 'world's first' robot that can 'sing, dance and perform on stage'

Source: THE INDIAN EXPRESS-17th December,2019

Today's personality

How a 17-year-old student is helping eliminate middlemen from medicine sales


Arjun Deshpande's unique pharmacy chain Generic Aadhar sells generic medicines to the masses at much cheaper rates than the market price

Most of India's young entrepreneurs come from the IT sector, and not many from the pharma. However, a 17-year old 12th class student Arjun Deshpande is different. Earlier this year, Deshpande founded a pharmacy retailing chain Generic Aadhar with an aim to sell generic medicines to the masses at much cheaper rates than the market price (generics are sold at almost 40 per cent premium to the ex-factory cost).
His unique pharmacy aggregator business model is to source generic drugs directly from the manufacturers and give it to the retail pharmacies, eliminating the 16-20 per cent wholesaler margin along with other layers of margins such as C&F agents in the trade. Already about a dozen retailers, who were finding it difficult to cope with the intense competition from established medical stores on one side and the deep discounted sales strategy of online pharmacies on the other, have joined the Generic Aadhar fold. The stores are offered a free face-lift with Generic Aadhar branding, logo and the requisite IT infrastructure with links to the head office in Thane. The Generic Aadhar has about a dozen employees, which includes pharmacists, IT engineers and marketing specialists who 'educate the customers' on generic drugs and its advantages.
"We started operations in March. Our average monthly revenues of branded stores have doubled as drugs are sold at much cheaper rates than  those in their neighbourhood pharmacies," says Deshpande, who often bunks his school for 'business and networking'. Currently Generic Aadhaar has tied up with four Mumbai-based WHO-GMP certified manufacturers to procure drugs with over a dozen medical stores in Mumbai and Pune joining the franchisee network. "We have a profit sharing model with the pharmacies and already Generic Aadhar has done over Rs 40 lakh business," says Deshpande, who has been shortlisted for the Thiel Fellowship in Silicon Valley, a two-year program for young people who want to build new business ideas.  
Over the next three-four months, plans are to extend the franchisee pharmacy network to 30-40 pharmacies in Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat. Deshpande says he started the business with funding from his parents, who have their own business ventures. His mother runs a pharmaceutical marketing company, which sells drugs in international markets and father runs a tour and travel agency.
"The next round of expansions will require about $3-5 million and a leading well-known retailer has agreed to invest as a strategic investor, which may happen over the next few months," says the young entrepreneur, who got this business idea while travelling with his mother during a summer vacation to the US, Dubai and a few other countries to attend pharmaceutical trade events. "India provides generic drugs to the world and in many of those markets, the margins are much lower than what they have in India," he says.
Besides scaling up the business and increasing the product basket, Generic Aadhar is also developing a dedicated IT platform for drugs sales so that drugs can be ordered online and delivered within 'two hours' from the nearest Generic Aadhar pharmacy. 


Monday, December 16, 2019

MMRC Recruitment 2019: Apply online for Architect and Various Engineering post in Mumbai Metro


MUMBAI (Metro Rail News): Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation (MMRC) Limited intends to appoint qualified and experienced professionals for the following posts on Contract / Deputation basis:

MMRC Recruitment 2019 Vacancies

1.     Dy. Town Planner: 02 vacancies, Pay Scale: ₹60000 – 180000/- (E3)
2.     Dy. Engineer-I (MEP) – Elect. & Mech. : 01 vacancy, Pay Scale: ₹60000 – 180000/- (E3) 
3.     Architect: 01 vacancy, Pay Scale: ₹60000 – 180000/- (E3) 
4.     Dy. Engineer (Civil): 01 vacancy, Pay Scale: ₹50000 – 160000/- (E2)
5.     Accounts Officer: 02 vacancies, Pay Scale: ₹50000 – 160000/- (E2) 
6.     Jr. Engineer-I (MEP) – Elect. & Mech. : 03 vacancies, Pay Scale: ₹35280 – 67920/- (W6) 
7.     Deputy Accountant: 04 vacancies, Pay Scale: ₹34020 – 64310/- (W5) 

How to Apply for MMRC Recruitment 2019

Eligible candidates may apply online on prescribed format at MMRC website from 10/12/2019 to 24/01/2020 only for Government Job Vacancy Recruitment in MMRCL 2019.

Detailed information and online application format Please visit the Career section of MMRCL website at for details of Government Job Vacancy Recruitment in MMRCL 2019 and online application format.


MHT CET For Engineering Admission Scheduled In April 2020 State CET Cell, Maharashtra has released the tentative schedule for the various Common Entrance Tests (CETs) it would be conducting in the academic year 2020-21.


 State Common Entrance Test Cell, Maharashtra has released the tentative schedule for the various Common Entrance Tests (CETs) it would be conducting in the academic year 2020-21. Following in the lines of National Testing Agency, which conducts several national-level examinations, Maharashtra CET Cell has also decided to conduct the entrance tests entirely in the computer-based mode this year.
MHT CET 2020 which will be held for admission to Bachelor in Engineering/ Technology (B.E/B.Tech)/ Bachelor in Pharmacy (B.Pharm/Pharm.D), Agriculture & Allied Courses/ Fisheries Science/ Dairy Technology, is scheduled in April next year. The examination will be held from April 13 to April 17, 2020 and April 20 to April 23, 2020.
MAH MBA/MMS CET 2020 which is conducted for admission to Master in Business Administration and Master in Management Studies will be held in March 2020, on March 14 and 15.
MAH MCA-CET 2020 which is conducted for admission to Master in Computer Applications will be held on March 28, 2020.
MAH M.Arch-CET 2020 which is conducted for admission to Master of Architecture will be held on May 10, 2020.
MAH B.HMCT 2020 which is conducted for admission to Bachelor of Hotel Management and Catering Technology will also be held on May 10, 2020.
MAH M.HMCT 2020 which is conducted for admission to Master of Hotel Management and Catering Technology will be held on May 16, 2020.
State CET Cell has also instructed other exam bodies and educational institutes in Maharashtra to schedule their CETs or examinations keeping in mind the schedule of the CETs. All further updates on the examinations will be released only on the Maharashtra CET Cell website, ''.