Category Archives: Research Paper

Stem Cell Research: Definition, Types, and Potential Uses

Stem Cell Research

There have been many advances in the medical and scientific worlds that have advanced human knowledge in various areas. The discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming back in 1928 gave the world its first true antibiotic. DNA profiling has changed the way that forensic science is used in criminal investigation, and the introduction of vaccines has saved countless lives.

Vaccines, of course, are in the news constantly now with the various versions being administered to millions to try to halt the spread of Covid and end the pandemic. There is one other incredible advance that is changing the medical world, and that is the use of stem cells.

It has been 10 years since Ernest McCullock passed away but his legacy lives on. It was McCulloch and James Till who first recognized and separated a stem cell. This discovery improved some medical procedures such as bone marrow transplants immediately. The possibilities for stem cell use in the medical world are still being investigated, as they may be so far-reaching.

What are stem cells?

The definition of cell differentiation is described as the process where a young cell forms its own characteristics and features and matures into a cell with a specialized purpose. The cells in the human body are mostly made up of differentiated cells. They have matured and have their purpose in the body and will serve one specific area.

For example, Mesothelial cells’ purpose is to provide a lining to the body’s organs and serous cavities. Keratinocytes are the main cells in the skin and protect against UV radiation, water loss, and viral or fungal infections. Stem cells are different from these differentiated cells.

Stem cells can be classed as being blank or undifferentiated. They are distinct from differentiated cells, which have only one specific purpose in the body, as blank stem cells can mature and carry out many functions and roles.

Stem cells can divide and multiply indefinitely and they will either produce more stem cells or become a differentiated cell such as Keratinocyte.

Are there different types of stem cells?

Medicines can cure disease but only doctors can cure patients, or so the saying goes. Stem cells can help cure many medical problems, but only certain stem cells can cure certain problems. There are a number of different stem cells and they each have different uses:

  • Totipotent or Omnipotent Stem Cells
  • Pluripotent
  • Multipotent
  • Oligopotent
  • Unipotent

The most powerful of all of these is the totipotent, or omnipotent stem cell. A totipotent cell is the most powerful as it can bring about life. Ie it can form a fully functioning living creature. A human fertilized egg is an example of a totipotent cell. Everyone starts out as just one cell, a zygote, and this then divides into two cells, which divide again, and again. After some time, the cells will begin to differentiate and take on their specific purposes.

Pluripotent stem cells are harvested from 3 to 5-day old embryos. Although the embryo is fertilized in a lab and not the human body, it is these stem cells that have caused some of the controversy surrounding the research.

What uses do stem cells have?

There have been many breakthroughs in stem cell research including recently, progress with enteric nervous system disorders. They can be used in many ways as stem cells can develop into whatever cell is needed.

Stem cells could be used for the following purposes:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Tissue regeneration
  • Brain disease
  • Blood diseases
  • Cell deficiency therapy

Tissue regeneration is possible with the use of induced pluripotent cells and some other types, and this could lead to huge advances in skin treatments. The biggest organ of a human is the skin and it helps to protect and to create a barrier for the body.

Sometimes wounds cannot heal effectively perhaps due to a severe accident, cancer, or burns. Stem cells could help to regenerate healthy tissue and improve the condition of patients with any number of skin conditions.

Platforms such as Celixir are working with stem cell therapy and hoping to make the next big breakthrough. This may include cell deficiency therapy where it is hoped that soon, laboratories will be able to grow heart cells to fix the damage in patients with heart disease. The same theory could also work for other organs such as the pancreas for diabetes patients.

Summary

Stem cell therapy has no ethical concerns as far as adult cells go but there may be issues elsewhere. For some people, science is a blessing, and to others it is trouble and there is some controversy when it comes to embryonic stem cell research.

However, it could be argued very strongly for the use of stem cell research and therapy after the potential uses are weighed up. Stem cells could potentially be used to treat patients with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and spinal cord damage. With stem cell research platforms driving ahead there could be another major breakthrough in the science and medical world soon.

Call for papers (IJR Journal)

IJR invites authors around the world to contribute their scholarly research papers in International Journal of Research (IJR) with ISSN 2348-6848. IJR is open access peer reviewed and indexed journal with high impact factor.

IJR accepts papers of All Fields of Management, Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities   
Aerial archaeological survey, Archaeological techniques, theory etc., Education, Law, Economics, Accounting, Finance, Human Resource Management, Marketing, Architecture, Epigraphy, History of science, sociology, psychology, Morphology, Museology, Papyrology, Philology, Preparation/conservation, Religion, Underwater archaeology, English Literature, Mathematics

For publication in IJR journal, send papers to editor@pen2print.org

Serum Institute asked to revise protocol for Covid-19 vaccine clinical trial

A  Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) expert panel has sought clarifications from Serum Institute of India (SII) over its application to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) seeking permission for conducting phase 2 and 3 human clinical trials of the Oxford vaccine candidate for COVID-19, official sources said on Wednesday. The CDSCO has advised the Serum Institute of India (SII) to submit a revised protocol to perform the clinical trials in India for potential Covid-19 vaccine.

The move comes when the Subject Expert Committee evaluated the submitted protocol by SII. The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) on COVID-19 which held its meeting on Tuesday deliberated on the application by SII and asked the Pune-based firm to revise its protocol for the phase 2 and 3 clinical trials, besides seeking some additional information. On Wednesday evening, SII submitted a revised protocol for conducting the trials to the DCGI. The firm plans to start phase 2 and 3 human trials in India in August. The domestic pharma giant has partnered with AstraZeneca for manufacturing the Oxford vaccine candidate for highly infectious disease Covid-19.

“The company on Tuesday was asked to clearly define phase 2 and phase 3 part of the protocol and resubmit their application for evaluation by the SEC,” an official source said. The panel also recommended that the proposed clinical trial sites be distributed across India, the source said. “They also have not given justification for the proposed enrolment of 1,600 subjects during the trial,” the source added. Additional Director, Government Affairs, SII, Prakash Kumar Singh said, “We have submitted our revised protocol to DCGI office today evening for further action by SEC and DCGI.” 

The SII which has partnered with AstraZeneca for manufacturing the Oxford vaccine candidate for COVID-19 had submitted its application to the DCGI on Friday, seeking permission for conducting the phase 2 and 3 trials of the potential vaccine ‘Covidshield’.”According to the application, it would conduct an observer-blind, randomized controlled study to determine the safety and immunogenicity of ‘Covishield’ in healthy Indian adults. The firm said that around 1,600 participants of more than 18 years would be enrolled in the study,” a source had said.  A Lancet medical journal report has stated that a vaccine candidate developed at the University of Oxford has shown encouraging results and it appears to be “safe, well-tolerated, and immunogenic. Initial results of the first two-phase trials of the vaccine conducted in five trial sites in the UK showed it has an acceptable safety profile and homologous boosting increased antibody responses, the source said.

To introduce the vaccine, SII, the world’s largest vaccine maker by the number of doses produced and sold, has signed an agreement to manufacture the potential vaccine developed by the Jenner Institute (Oxford University) in collaboration with British-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca. On the partnership with AstraZeneca, Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla had said, “Serum Institute of India has entered a manufacturing partnership with AstraZeneca to produce and supply 1 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Oxford University.”

These vaccines will be for India and middle and low-income countries across the world (GAVI countries), he had said. Last week, Oxford University announced the satisfactory progress with the vaccine, making it one of the leading ones among the dozens of vaccine candidates being developed around the world. The clinical trials of a potential Covid-19 vaccine on humans began in April. There was no immediate response from SII when ANI contacted them to make their version.

National Education Policy 2020

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the new National Education Policy (NEP) with an aim to introduce several changes in the Indian education system – from the school to college level. A single regulator for higher education institutions, multiple entries and exit options in degree courses, discontinuation of MPhil programs, low stakes board exams, common entrance exams for universities are among the highlights of the policy.  Speaking to reporters, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said the changes are important as the policy, which was framed in 1986 and revised in 1992, had not been revised since then.

The NEP 2020 aims at making “India a global knowledge superpower”.The new academic session will begin in September-October – the delay is due to the unprecedented coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak – and the government aims to introduce the policy before the new session kicks in. The committee — which suggested changes in the education system under the NEP — was headed by former ISRO chief K Kasturirangan. The NEP was drafted in 1986 and updated in 1992. The NEP was part of the election manifesto of the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) ahead of the 2014 elections.

Either one of the mother tongue or the local/regional language will be the medium of instruction up to Class 5 in all schools, the government said Wednesday while launching the National Education Policy 2020. Among other changes in the revision of the NEP, last done over three decades ago, is the extension of the right to education to cover all children between three and 18 years of age. The policy also proposes vocational education, with internships, for students from Class 6, a change to the 10+2 schooling structure, and a four-year bachelor’s program. NEP 2020 will bring two crores, out-of-school children, back into the mainstream, the government has claimed. Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted saying he “wholeheartedly welcomed” the policy, which he called a “long due and much-awaited reform in the education sector”.

In a bid to ramp up digital learning, a National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) would be created. “E-courses will be developed in eight regional languages initially and virtual labs will be developed,” Amit Khare, Higher Education Secretary, said. Top 100 foreign colleges will be allowed to set-up campuses in India. According to the HRD Ministry document, listing salient features of policy, “such (foreign) universities will be given special dispensation regarding regulatory, governance, and content norms on par with other autonomous institutions of India.” Standalone Higher Education Institutes and professional education institutes will be evolved into multi-disciplinary education. “There are over 45,000 affiliated colleges in our country. Under Graded Autonomy, Academic, Administrative and Financial Autonomy will be given to colleges, on the basis of the status of their accreditation,” he further said.

Here are the important points in the National Education Policy 2020:

  1. The mother tongue or local or regional language is to be the medium of instruction in all schools up to Class 5 (preferably till Class 8 and beyond), according to the policy. Under the NEP 2020, Sanskrit will be offered at all levels and foreign languages from the secondary school level. 
  2. The 10+2 structure has been replaced with 5+3+3+4, consisting of 12 years of school and three of Anganwadi or pre-school. This will be split as follows: a foundational stage (ages three and eight), three years of pre-primary (ages eight to 11), a preparatory stage (ages 11 to 14), and a secondary stage (ages 14 to 18). According to the government, the revised structure will “bring hitherto uncovered age group of three to six years, recognized globally as a crucial stage for the development of mental faculties, under school curriculum”.
  3. Instead of exams being held every year, school students will sit only for three – at Classes 3, 5, and 8. Assessment in other years will shift to a “regular and formative” style that is more “competency-based, promotes learning and development, and tests higher-order skills, such as analysis, critical thinking and conceptual clarity”.
  4. Board exams will continue to be held for Classes 10 and 12 but even these will be re-designed with “holistic development” as the aim. Standards for this will be established by a new national assessment center – PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development).
  5. The policy, the government has said, aims at reducing the curriculum load of students and allowing them to become more “multi-disciplinary” and “multi-lingual”. There will be no rigid separation between arts and sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities and between vocational and academic stream, the government said.
  6. To that end, the policy also proposes that higher education institutions like the IITs (Indian Institute of Technology) move towards “holistic education” by 2040 with greater inclusion of arts and humanities subjects for students studying science subjects, and vice versa.
  7. The NEP 2020 proposes a four-year undergraduate program with multiple exit options to give students flexibility. A multi-disciplinary bachelor’s degree will be awarded after completing four years of study. Students exiting after two years will get a diploma and those leaving after 12 months will have studied a vocational/professional course. MPhil (Master of Philosophy) courses are to be discontinued.
  8. A Higher Education Council of India (HECI) will be set up to regulate higher education; the focus will be on institutions that have 3,000 or more students. Among the council’s goals is to increase the gross enrolment ratio from 26.3 percent (2018) to 50 percent by 2035. The HECI will not, however, have jurisdiction over legal and medical colleges.


The Cabinet also approved changing the name of the HRD ministry to the education ministry.

S-400 missile to China

The S-400 Triumf, previously known as the S-300PMU-3, is an anti-aircraft weapon system developed in the 1990s by Russia’s Almaz Central Design Bureau as an upgrade of the S-300 family. It has been in service with the Russian Armed Forces since 2007. Considered to be the most advanced missile defense system in the world, the S-400 ‘Triumf’ system is capable of destroying targets at a distance of up to 400 kilometers and a height of up to 30 kilometers.

In 2017, the S-400 was described by The Economist as “one of the best air-defense systems currently made”, and Siemon Wezeman of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said it “is among the most advanced air defense systems available.” China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, India, and Qatar expressed their appreciation for the S-400 system, and China was the first foreign buyer to make a government-to-government deal with Russia in 2014.

Amid a global uproar against China – coronavirus, a military standoff with India, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the South China Sea, US – in just the past six months, Moscow has now announced the suspension of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to Beijing, with the resumption of deliveries yet to be ascertained.

Russia has announced the suspension of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to China and said the resumption of further deliveries is yet to be ascertained. Citing Chinese newspaper Sohu, UAWire reported, “This time, Russia announced the postponement of the delivery of missiles for the Chinese S-400 system. To a certain extent, we can say that it is for the sake of China. Getting a gun is not as easy as signing an invoice after receiving a weapon.” “They say that the work on delivering these weapons is quite complicated. While China has to send personnel for training, Russia also needs to send a lot of technical personnel to put the weapons into service,” Sohu said.

Post-Russia’s announcement, China has reportedly said that Moscow was forced to make such a decision as it “is worried that the delivery of S-400 missiles at this time will affect the anti-pandemic actions of the People’s Liberation Army and does not want to cause trouble to China.” In 2018, China received the first batch of S-400 missile, a military-diplomatic source told Russia`s TASS news agency. Meanwhile, it should be noted that the suspension comes merely days after Russia had accused China of espionage, despite the two nations sharing considerably good relations over the years. This assertion had come up after Russian authorities had found the president of its St Petersburg Arctic Social Sciences Academy, Valery Mitko handing over classified material to the Chinese intelligence.

World Hepatitis Day

On World Hepatitis Day, let us put an end to all forms of discrimination that is meted out to people suffering from hepatitis.

World Hepatitis Day, observed on July 28 every year, aims to raise global awareness of hepatitis — a group of infectious diseases known as Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E — and encourage prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Hepatitis affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide, causing acute and chronic disease and killing close to 1.34 million people every year. Hepatitis causes liver diseases and can also kill a person. World Hepatitis Day is one of eight official global public health campaigns marked by the World Health Organization (WHO).

WHO keeps this year’s theme is “Hepatitis-free future,” with a strong focus on preventing hepatitis B among mothers and newborns. On 28 July, WHO will publish new recommendations on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of the virus. HBV can be prevented among newborns through the use of a safe and effective vaccine. WHO is calling on all countries to work together to eliminate viral hepatitis as a public health threat by 2030.

Significance of the theme

WHO says, “A hepatitis-free future is achievable with a united effort.”

With 2020’s theme for World Hepatitis Day being “Hepatitis-free future”, it becomes all the more crucial to know about the nature, prevention, and treatment of these viral illnesses. Hepatitis A and E are usually self-limited infections and comparatively not as severe as the other types. Hepatitis B and C are the leading causes of hepatitis-related deaths and can lead to serious conditions and cause long-term liver damage like liver cirrhosis, acute on chronic liver failure, liver cancer, or even death. Hepatitis D usually occurs in conjunction with Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B and C especially pose a serious threat to India as suggested by the numbers.

Once diagnosed, the course of treatment is based on whether the infection is acute or chronic. In the current scenario, it is vital to get a test and have the medications started, as those with pre-existing health conditions are at a higher risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus. Increased awareness through campaigns, initiatives, and discussions will help spread information as well as reduce the stigma about the disease. Awareness will also enable access to testing, ultimately resulting in early diagnosis.

WHO mentions the following points in dealing with the situation:

  1. PREVENT infection among newborns.  All newborns should be vaccinated against hepatitis B at birth, followed by at least 2 additional doses.
  2. STOP TRANSMISSION from MOTHER to CHILD. All pregnant women should be routinely tested for hepatitis B, HIV, and syphilis and receive treatment if needed.
  3. LEAVE NO ONE BEHIND. Everyone should have access to hepatitis prevention, testing, and treatment services, including people who inject drugs, people in prisons, migrants, and other highly-affected populations.
  4. EXPAND access to testing and treatment. Timely testing and treatment of viral hepatitis can prevent liver cancer and other severe liver diseases.
  5. MAINTAIN essential hepatitis services during COVID-19. Prevention and care services for hepatitis – such as infant immunization, harm reduction services, and continuous treatment of chronic hepatitis B – are essential even during the pandemic.

Education of the masses is the way forward to find these missing millions and ensuring that they receive proper treatment and care. Only then, it is possible to drastically reduce the number of patients who would suffer from these diseases and eliminate the risk of the virus and achieve the dream of “Hepatitis-free” India.

Let us learn to protect ourselves from Hepatitis diseases on World Hepatitis Day.

Rafael aircraft coming to India from France

The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation. Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform air supremacy, interdiction, aerial reconnaissance, ground support, in-depth strike, anti-ship strike, and nuclear deterrence missions. Many of the aircraft’s avionics and features, such as direct voice input, the RBE2 AA active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar, were domestically developed and produced for the Rafale program. Originally scheduled to enter service in 1996, the Rafale suffered significant delays due to post-Cold War budget cuts and changes in priorities. The aircraft is available in three main variants: Rafale C single-seat land-based version, Rafale B twin-seat land-based version, and Rafale M single-seat carrier-based version.

The Rafale is being produced for both the French Air Force and for carrier-based operations in the French Navy. The Rafale has been marketed for export to several countries and was selected for purchase by the Indian Air Force, the Egyptian Air Force, and the Qatar Air Force.  Due to its great capabilities, the first batch of 5 raflaes arrives in India in two days.

On the one hand, when there are neighbors like China and on the other hand, when there are neighboring countries like Pakistan, India needs to work on both its army and the Indian Air Force. In such a situation, 5 Rafale aircraft was given to the Indian Army yesterday. These Rafale aircraft flew from France yesterday and reached the UAE airbase Al Dhafra today. Here their maintenance and refueling work will be done. After this, these fighter aircraft will fly and arrive at Ambala Air Force Base tomorrow. With this aircraft joining the Indian Air Force, the morale of the Indian Army will be greatly elevated. However, the condition of the Airforce is not good right now because there is a shortage of squadron. This thing has been told in many reports. But with Rafael joining the Indian Army, it can play a decisive role in winning a war.

“You can call them (Rafale) both beauty and the beast,” said Indian Ambassador to France Jawed Ashraf after interacting with the IAF pilots at the airbase before they set off for India. “Delivery of 10 aircraft has been completed on schedule. Five will stay back in France for a training mission. The delivery of all 36 aircraft will be completed on schedule by the end of 2021,” the Indian embassy in Paris said in a statement. India and France signed a Euro 7.87-billion ( ₹59,000 crores approximately) deal on September 23, 2016, for 36 Rafale jets. The IAF official said the air-to-air refueling of the aircraft will be undertaken with dedicated tanker support from the French Air Force. “Our air force pilots tell us that these are extremely swift, nimble, versatile, and very deadly aircraft,” said Ashraf while congratulating the IAF pilots on becoming the first ones to fly one of the world’s most advanced fighter aircraft. The envoy thanked Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of the aircraft, for delivering the fleet on time, the French government and the French Air Force for extending all required support.

online classes AMID Pandemic

COVID-19 began in the month of December in 2019 and soon it grew into a pandemic, leading to several losses of lives and locking down of many cities. Social distancing became the key to escape out of this problem. But, with this solution came other problems. We are able to follow social distancing by keeping us locked in our houses but this stopped students’ education too. But we can’t just stop everything due to this COVID thing. We need to find an effective solution to continue the education of students. We need to continue the functioning of schools and colleges.

Online Classes

In the times of the internet, the one and the only solution are online classes. The online way to share knowledge and information now is the internet. It has proved to be a real miracle these days, connecting millions and making information access fast and easy. Be it school, college, tuition, or coaching classes, knowledge is now being delivered to students who are sitting at their home and can learn things sitting there only. Students now need a mobile or desktop and fast internet connection to attend their online classes and learn things. It is not possible for a pandemic to stop students from learning.

How it is a different experience?

This way of learning is totally new to everyone, be it students, be it teachers or be it parents. We were already involved in some small ways of e-learning but a complete shift towards this type of mode is  something new and challenging to everyone. Teachers are continuously involved in finding new ways to make e-learning more interactive and interesting for students. They are continuously evolving their way of teaching and trying to give them a class-type of feeling. Teachers are also learning to adapt with new softwares and explore things. Students are learning how to deal with online homework submissions, doubt-sessions and examinations. But, the problem is that the medium of interaction is always an electronic device. Hence, students are subjected to fatigue and mental stress. They seem irritated and develop body pain sitting still at a particular position holding their phones or laptops. Students are also developing stress on eyes. It is quite difficult for them to adjust with all of these. It seems that this way of teaching costs their health, both mental and physical. Besides this, internet is not available to all the areas of the country and to all the students. Poor students can’t afford high speed data. This method of teaching, is thus, a barrier between poor students and education. It is a harsh truth that they are left behind. We need to work together towards this to make education available to these students also.

The power of “Now”

Life, a very adventurous journey has three divisions, present past and future. We all have only one life and we want to live it to the fullest and make the best out of it. In our life, we have to deal with the present, past, and future. Thus, we are often confused about which moment of life is more important and should be given maximum attention. Let us try to figure this out.

Looking into the past and future

We all tend to be far-sighted, thinking of future plans, future goals, etc. We work for our future, we save for our future, and we plan for our good future. We work hard to achieve our future goals. But, we are uncertain of our future. Yup, are you sure your future will come? No one knows. Thinking of the future and making plans according to is also important, but getting lost in these plans is not the correct way. Working in a way that misses out today and seems promising of a good future is where we are getting ditched because we will be investing in something that does not exist.

Past, on the other hand, is what we already created. It is impossible to change now what we have done 10 years ago. We can only learn from the past to improve our present and future. So, there is no point in living in the past. If we live in the past, we are stuck.

Live in present. But, why? 

“If you want to conquer the anxiety of life, live in the moment, live in the breath.”

Think deeply and question again. Are there three divisions of time or is it only one? Are there past, present, and future or is it only present? Confused? It will be clear. 

Our present makes our past and our future. How? What we have today will become our past tomorrow. So, by living in the present, we create our past. By making our present beautiful, we create memories and by doing mistakes now, we create lessons to learn. Basically, it is possible to add what we want to add in our past. It is possible to create our past by designing our present in the way we want. We can also make our future in a similar manner. Whatever we do today will be reflected in our future. Whatever we want in the future, wherever we dream to stand in the future, it begins from the present. We have to work today only to reach where we want to be in the future. Our performance today decides what we will get in the future. If we want to get the best out of our life, we need to live in the present and give the best today, there is no other option.

“The present moment is the only moment available to us, and it is the door to all moments.”

“Now” is the happiness

The best and most important moment is now. It is not possible to grab it or hold it. What is possible is to enjoy it, make it the best by giving it the best and staying in that moment. Neither our past is bad, nor our future may be. It’s just certain instances of past that are bad or according to us and an imagined situation of future that may be overwhelming or fearful. But, the most precious moment is now. We need to enjoy it to the fullest. If we merge with the present we are truly living otherwise, we are dead. Living the present is happiness, it is the true pleasure. Make your each second beautiful. Embrace it.