Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Common cancer drug from rare plant produced in laboratory
Scientists from Stanford University have found a way to produce a common cancer drug -- previously only available from an endangered Himalayan plant -- from an easily grown laboratory plant.
 
The scientists believe that the technique of shifting medicinal properties from rare plants to laboratory plants could be applied to a wide range of other plants and drugs, thereby leading to a more stable supply of drugs derived from rare plants.
 
Elizabeth Sattely, assistant professor of chemical engineering at Stanford, and colleagues identified the genes that enable the leafy Himalayan plant mayapple to produce the chemicals key to producing a widely used cancer-fighting drug called etoposide.
 
The team used a novel technique to identify proteins that work together in a molecular assembly line to produce the cancer drug. 
 
They then showed that the proteins could produce the compound outside the plant - in this case, they had put the machinery in a different plant.
 
"A big promise of synthetic biology is to be able to engineer pathways that occur in nature, but if we do not know what the proteins are, then we cannot even start on that endeavour," Sattely said.
 
The researchers believe that they would be able to eventually produce the drug in yeast which can be grown in large vats in the lab to better provide a stable source of drugs.
 
The findings were detailed in the journal Science.

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Modi expresses regret over Chandigarh shutdown; orders probe
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed regret over the inconvenience caused to people after his four-hour visit to Chandigarh led to the closure of schools and Chandigarh’s main cremation ground, besides causing traffic snarls that paralysed the city.
 
"An inquiry will be held and responsibility will be fixed for the inconvenience caused to the people of Chandigarh," Modi tweeted.
 
“The inconvenience caused to citizens in Chandigarh, especially shutting of schools due to my visit is regretted. It was totally avoidable,” added Modi.
 
Authorities in Chandigarh had ordered the closure of all 187 schools on Friday, blocked roads to ensure smooth movement for the prime minister’s cavalcade and even ordered that ambulances would have to take longer detours to reach hospitals.
 
The main cremation ground of the city in Sector 25, which is located next to the rally ground where Modi addressed his official rally on Friday afternoon, too was out of bounds for people.
 
Those who had to cremate their loved ones were forced to do in cremation grounds in nearby Mohali and Mani Majra.

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HC asks government to take decision on KG basin issue

ONGC claims three wells drilled by RIL on the boundary of the KG-D6 block are within a few hundred meters of its gas fields, while RIL disputes this

 

The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the central government to take a decision, within six months of receiving the report of an expert panel set up on the dispute between state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Reliance Industries (RIL) over their Krishna Godavari basin gas fields being interconnected.
 
Justice R.S. Endlaw disposed of the plea of ONGC asking the central government to take a decision while asking all the parties involved in the matter to cooperate with the independent international expert agency, DeGolyer & MacNaughton.
 
According to ONGC, gas discoveries in its G4 and KG-DWN-98/2 (KG-D5) blocks in the eastern offshore, extend into RIL's KG-DWN-98/3 or KG-D6 block. It had moved the high court alleging RIL has extracted gas upto 18 billion cubic meters from its blocks resulting in loss of several thousand crores of rupees.
 
ONGC claims three wells drilled by RIL on the boundary of the KG-D6 block are within a few hundred meters of its gas fields, while RIL disputes this. Both companies have presented data in support of their claims.
 

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