INST develop nanorods from Aspirin

Cataract, a leading cause of blindness worldwide, can be treated through a surgical removal of the opacified lens and its replacement with an artificial one

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BHUBANESWAR: People suffering from cataract have a reason to cheer. They can get rid of the condition without a surgery now that a group of scientists from the Punjab-based Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST) has developed low cost nanorods from Aspirin which can be used as eye drops. The nanorods derived from the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) have been found to be effective, non-invasive small moleculebased nanotherapeutics against cataract.

Cataract, a leading cause of blindness worldwide, can be treated through a surgical removal of the opacified lens and its replacement with an artificial one which is expensive and has drawbacks like implant disintegration. Cataract occurs when the structure of crystallin proteins that make up the lens in eyes deteriorates, causing damaged or disorganised proteins to form a milky blue or brown layer, which ultimately affects lens transparency.

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“The Aspirin nanorods, we have developed, prevent aggregation of crystallin protein and various peptides derived from its fragmentation which play a crucial role in cataract formation,” said INST Assistant Professor Dr Jiban Jyoti Panda, who hails from Bhubaneswar.

Along with Dr Panda, scientist Md Ehesan Ali and researchers Anjali Bisht, Manju Sharma and Shikha Sharma developed the carrier-free self-built Aspirin nanorods. “Prevention of the formation of the layers as well as their destruction in the early stage of disease progression is a major treatment strategy for cataracts. The nanorods that can carry out this task will make cataract prevention affordable and accessible,” stated the research paper published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry B.

The nanorods prevent the protein/ peptide aggregation through biomolecular interactions, which convert beta-turn like the structure of the crystallin peptides, responsible for amyloid formation into coils and helices, those fail to aggregate.

The aspirin nanorods have been produced 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. Although, many natural compounds have already been reported as potential aggregation inhibitors for crystallin aggregation, the utility of NSAIDs like aspirin will open a new paradigm, the researchers claimed.

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