Respiratory Disease Biology

A significant number of IGIB scientists have focused on respiratory diseases ranging from Tuberculosis and Asthma to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD), using clinical, genetic, molecular and drug development approaches to tackle this challenging area.

o The Open Source Drug Discovery program (OSDD)-a CSIR-led Consortium with Global Partnership - is fuelled by the concept of an inclusive virtual environment where the best minds can collaborate and collectively endeavor to solve the complex problems associated with discovering novel therapies for neglected tropical diseases like Malaria, Tuberculosis, Leshmaniasis etc. Several researchers at IGIB are deeply involved in this project from its inception. Currently the annotation of the Mycobacterial Genome is an active area of global collaboration in OSDD.

o Mycobacterial kinases and phosphatases are important counteracting enzymes that work in concert in intracellular signalling and impact diverse biological functions and are also prime drug targets. Systematic experimental characterization of kinases and phosphatases and their interactions in Mycobacterium has been carried out by IGIB scientists leading to the characterization of pathways important in the pathogenesis of Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

o IGIB scientists with participation from the medical and research community in India, have been consistently involved in the dissection of genetic components of asthma pathogenesis and screening and identification of anti-inflammatory/anti-asthmatic compounds from natural sources. This group has identified a number of novel polymorphic loci associated with asthma like haplotypes in Transforming Growth Factor beta1 (TGF-beta1) gene associated with asthma and serum TGF-beta levels, novel haplotypes in FCERIB associated with histamine release from basophils of asthmatic individuals and novel polymorphisms and haplotypes in STAT6 gene associated with asthma. A similar approach was also used to study genetic polymorphisms associated with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD). Taking advantage of the rich traditional medical system and bio-resource diversity of India, researchers at IGIB have identified novel leads. Using cell adhesion molecules as targets, a number of anti-inflammatory/anti-asthmatic compounds have been identified. A mouse model of asthma is being used to study the role of diferuloylmethane, luteolin and PBPB in alleviating asthma conditions. In addition to the efforts, purification and preparation of allergens has helped in development of diagnostic tools for detection of allergies prevalent in India. A centre of excellence for translational research in asthma and lung disease (TRiAL) has been initiated at IGIB.