WHY IN NEWS?

A team of scientists from the Institute of Nano Science & Technology (INST), Punjab, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India have developed nanorods from the Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) Aspirin to prevent cataracts in an economical and less complicated way.

  • Aspirin is a popular medication used to reduce pain, fever, or inflammation and now it is an effective non–invasive small molecule-based nanotherapeutics against cataract.

WHAT IS CATARACT?

A cataract is a major form of blindness that occurs when the structure of crystallin proteins that make up the lens in our eyes deteriorates with ageing and under various conditions, causing damaged or disorganised proteins to aggregate and form a milky blue or brown layer, which impairs vision and cause cataract.

Thus, prevention of the formation of these aggregates as well as their destruction in the early stage of disease progression is a major treatment strategy for cataracts.

USAGE OF ASPIRIN:

  • The scientists have used the anti-aggregation ability of self-build aspirin nanorods as an effective non –invasive small molecule-based nanotherapeutics against cataract.
  • It prevents the protein from aggregation through biomolecular interactions, which convert it into coils and helices and consequently fail to aggregate.
  • The aspirin nanorods are generated using the process of molecular self-assembly, which is a low-cost and high-yield technique as compared to the high cost and laborious physical methods generally used for the synthesis of nanoparticles.

IMPORTANCE OF NSAIDs-

Many natural compounds have already been reported as potential aggregation inhibitors for crystallin aggregation, but the utility of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like Aspirin, will open a new paradigm in this direction.

  1. It is easy to use and a low-cost alternative nonsurgical treatment method.
  2. It will benefit patients in developing countries who cannot access expensive cataract treatments and surgeries.
  3. In addition to this, Aspirin nanorods due to their nano-size will enhance the bioavailability, improve drug loading, lower toxicity, etc. Hence, the delivery of the aspirin nanorods as eye drops is going to serve as an effective and viable option to treat cataract non-invasively.

The Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST)

It is an autonomous research institution of the Department of Science and Technology in India, under the Society Registration Act, 1960.

It comes under the umbrella of a national mission on Nano Science and Technology (NANO MISSION), which aims to promote growth and outreach of Nanoscience and technology for the benefit of the country. INST has been set up to undertake research and generate products/devices and technology in the area of Nanoscience and Technology.

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