Hyderabad CCMB Scientists Find New Cure for Eye Infection

A team at Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has developed a formula to treat keratitis, an eye infection common among farmers.

Published: 27th September 2015 05:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th September 2015 05:31 AM   |  A+A-


CCMB director Ch Mohan Rao along with scientist Manjula Reddy speaking at a media conference in Hyderabad on Saturday | A Radhakrishna | EPS

HYDERABAD:In a major discovery, a team of scientists at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) has developed a formula to treat keratitis, a major fungal eye infection, common among farmers in rural areas.

Addressing the media on the sidelines of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) 73rd foundation day celebrations, Ch Mohan Rao, Director, CCMB, said “We have developed some smart polymer-based biocompatible nano particles carrying a formulation that is designed to handle problems caused by fungal infection effectively.”

Farmers are more likely to contract keratitis, during harvest season. The disease spreads when the farmers come in contact with the leaves of the plants. The fungi reach cornea (outer most part of the eye) and cause inflamation.

It then releases enzymes to break down the cornea and use its components as nutrients. The host also responds by its defence mechanism. The infection will eventually lead to cornea damage, which can end up causing scar formation, thus compromising the vision.

Fungal keratitis is a major eye problem that people are facing today. If left untreated, it leads to loss of vision. According to the scientists, nearly 30 per cent of the infected people will eventually lose their vision.

”By combining the specific formation with smart delivery mechanism, we have successfully treated the infection in animals. We are now patenting the approach and clinical trials will be undertaken subsequently. We are hopeful of bringing the treatment to market in three years,” the director of said adding that the same approach can be used as a platform technology to treat other ailments, including cancer.

Antibiotics for Bacterial Infection

The scientists at the CCMB have identified a novel potential target for the development of new antibiotics to eliminate bacterial infection. According to Ch Mohan Rao, Director of CCMB, the new antibiotics will eliminate bacterial infection by breaking the bonds of the bacterium.

“Drug-resistance of bacteria has increased despite advances in antibacterial therapy. Meanwhile, the research and development of new antibiotics has declined over the years. A recent study published by our team describes a novel potential drug target for the development of new antibiotics.”

“All biological cells have a membrane that envelops the cell. Bacteria have a rather tough cell wall made up of substances called peptidoglycan. When a bacterium grows and increases in size, the cell wall will also grow. In order to do this it has to break bonds and allow new materials to be bonded.

Our Scientists have identified the role of breaking these bonds in reshaping the cell wall. Blocking these systems could be a new way of eliminating bacterial infections,” Rao added.

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