Indian Startup Detects Early Stage Cancer With A Blood Test

Indian Startup Detects Early Stage Cancer With A Blood Test

A specialised molecular diagnostic startup, Tzar Labs along with Mumbai-based Epigeneres Biotechnology, has made a breakthrough in early-detection of cancer. Let’s see how they did this by using just a simple blood test on the given subjects.

Crux of the Matter

What Is Its Accuracy?

The discovery enables the detection of early stage cancer and the stage of the disease from a simple blood test with virtually 100% accuracy.

As per Tzar

Has A Trial Been Done?
Yes. A clinical study on detecting cancer of 1000 subjects has been conducted and a peer-reviewed paper by the startup Tzar has been published in Stem Cell Reviews and Reports (SCRR).

How Did They Do It?
The tech can detect organ-level RNA mutations directly from the blood. They researched on marker genes and found the key indicators of cancerous conditions at the molecular level.

What Is The Test Called?
The test is called the HrC test.

We can also safely rule out the risk of cancer for the following year if your HrC marker falls in the safe zone. We envisage a world where one needs to do the HrC test once a year, and we will catch cancer either at stage 1 or prior.

Ashish Tripathi, CEO of Tzar

How Deadly Is Cancer?
The disease accounts for one in every six deaths worldwide, as per the American Cancer Society. It kills more people every year than HIV-AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined.

What Are The Numbers?
In 2017, an estimated 17 million cases of cancer were diagnosed, and 9.5 million people died of the disease. By 2040, the figures are expected to reach 27.5 million new cases and 16.3 million cancer deaths.

Leading Cancer Case Types In India

Indian States With Highest Cancer Prevalence

  • Mumbai-based nanotech scientist Vinay Kumar Tripathi and his family are majority shareholders in both companies. Tripathi’s youngest son is the best-selling author Amish Tripathi, best known for the series Shiva Trilogy. 
  • James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation”. Their work was around cancer immunotherapy, which has been used as an alternative for surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
  • The Indian Cancer Research Centre was established in 1952. It then got combined with The Tata Memorial Hospital which is now more popularly known as the Tata Memorial Centre.

Where Can We Expect India’s First Lithium Refinery?

Where Can We Expect India’s First Lithium Refinery?

For its lithium battery needs, India was relying on imports from China, Hong Kong, and Vietnam over the years. So India’s discovery of local lithium deposits in Karnataka has stirred considerable interest this year. Let’s see the progress on the plans of India for the very first lithium refinery, and how it will help us level up in the EV game.

Crux of the Matter

Lithium Deposits Found
The government announced this year that lithium deposits worth 1,600 tonnes were found in Mandya district, Karnataka.

What Does DAE Say?

Unless a proper technology/method is available to profitably extract lithium from its ore, the real benefit of exploration may not be there.

As per Department of Atomic Energy release

Who Is Working On A Local Refinery?
In May 2020, Manikaran Power Limited had announced the launch of a feasibility study, with the help of Australia’s Neometals Limited. To set up a lithium hydroxide refinery in India, they wanted a capacity of 20,000 tonnes per annum, lithium carbonate equivalent.

How Will It Benefit Us?
Manikaran’s director, Jasmeet Singh Kalsi, had said that the proposed lithium refinery would help develop domestic manufacturing capabilities for lithium-ion batteries. This will strengthen India’s push for electric-vehicle manufacturing.

Where Will The Plant Be Set Up?
Gujarat is the tentative location. The state offers advantages like the availability of chemical reagents, gas, good port and road connectivity, and availability of basic infrastructure for the project’s operation.

What’s Next?
The power trading company has reached out to Government agencies for specific support, like Capital Subsidies, Duty exemptions on imported materials, and Tax Breaks to be at par with other global lithium processors.

  • Akira Yoshino created a prototype of the Lithium-ion battery in 1985.  Eventually, Sony along with the Asahi Kasei team led by Yoshio Nishi developed the commercial Li-ion battery in 1991.
  • Lithium is the lightest metal. It is one of the most reactive elements due to its unstable state.
  • Lithium salts are commonly used for psychiatric medications. They are used to treat bipolar disorders and major depressive disorders.

Understanding Plasma Donation

Understanding Plasma Donation

With the second wave of Covid-19 looming upon us, the demand for the plasma of recovered patients has also gone up tremendously. However, many people still have inhibitions about donating plasma. Let’s understand some basics of plasma donation.

Crux of the Matter

What’s A Plasma?
It is a yellow coloured component that is 55% of your blood. Labs separate plasma from blood with special devices called plasma tubes via centrifugation.

Does It Contain Antibodies?
Yes. When your body has fought an infection, the antibodies produced are stored in the plasma. So if you have contracted SARS-COV-2 virus that causes COVID, then fighting antibodies will be present in your plasma.

How Is It Helpful For A Covid Patient?
The plasma taken from a person who has recovered from a disease is called convalescent plasma. Scientists state that injecting a Covid patient with convalescent plasma, from someone who has already recovered from COVID, can help the patient heal faster.

When Is It Most Needed?
Plasma transfusion should be done within 5-7 days of contracting COVID, to help patients with mild to moderate infection. However, it can’t help critical patients on ventilators.

So When Can You Donate?
Donating while you are Covid positive isn’t a good idea as enough antibodies haven’t been generated to kill the virus.  As per FDA, the best time to donate is about 2 weeks after you have completely recovered.

What If The Donor Gets Vaccinated ?
Well, the regulations in India state that a person cannot donate blood for 28 days after getting the Covid vaccine. Thus, blood banks have appealed to 18 to 44 year olds to donate blood before getting the vaccine.

Will The Donor Get Re-Infected With Covid?
With or without donating blood, your antibodies decrease over time. But on contracting Covid again, your body is able to respond and reproduce antibodies within a couple of hours. Infact, many people have donated blood 7-8 times.

Do’s And Don’ts While Donating Plasma:

  • Always carry a hard copy of the Covid-19 negative report within 4 months of the day of donation & your Aadhar Card.
  • Donate only after 14 days of a Covid-19 positive report if the person is asymptomatic or after 14 days of symptom resolution if the person is symptomatic.
  • Women who have ever been pregnant cannot donate Covid-19 convalescent plasma.
  • Person who has received Covid-19 vaccination will not be able to donate plasma for 28 days from the date of vaccination.
  • A person cannot donate if he/she gets rejected for the lack of adequate antibodies in the blood.

  • The protein which gives red colour to the blood is called Haemoglobin (Hb). Present in the red blood cells, it is the iron-containing oxygen-transport metalloprotein.
  • Almost 7% of the human body weight is blood.
  • Blood of octopuses is blue in colour.

Vaccine Prince Adar Poonawalla Threatened For Vaccine

A Mumbai-based lawyer, Datta Mane has filed a petition in Bombay High Court seeking Z+ security cover for Adar, CEO of the Serum Institute of India (SII), which manufactures the Covishield vaccine. Let’s see how Adar is being threatened in terms of vaccine supply.

Crux of the Matter
  • Adar Poonawalla, head of Serum Institute of India which is making Covishield vaccine, has moved to London amidst threats to him in India.
  • In an interview with The Times (UK), Poonawalla claimed he is getting calls from several chief ministers, businessmen and other ‘powerful’ people of India.

  • Poonawalla has claimed that he will return to India in a few days. He is also expected to start vaccine production in UK as well.
  • A few days ago, Poonawalla was also given ‘Y’ status security cover by CRPF. The ‘Y’ category security includes 11 personnel, including 1 or 2 commandoes and police personnel.
  • Notable development came when Rahul Kanwal of India Today discussed threats to Poonawalla.

How Spaced Repetition Can Help You Learn Better

How Spaced Repetition Can Help You Learn Better

Struggling to recollect where you left your phone again? Sitting in the exam hallway, trying to remember a formula? In order for us to retain any information in our brain, we have to refresh it periodically with specific time intervals. One such technique is Spaced Repetition via flashcards. Let’s dive into this piece to know more.

Crux of the Matter

Short Term Vs Long Term Memory

  • Long term memory includes more distant memories, measured in months-to-years-to-decades. Eg: skills learnt in a long time job.
  • Short Term memory includes recent memories i.e minutes-to-days. Eg: food you ate yesterday.

What Is Spaced Repetition?
A method where a person is asked to remember a certain fact with the time intervals increasing each time the fact is presented. If they are able to recall the info correctly the time is doubled. This helps in retaining the information in long term memory.

What’s A Good Time Distribution?

When Was It First Used?
In 1978, a group of students were shown pictures of a certain person followed by that person’s name. The study was called face name association. Individuals remembered the faces and their respective names as the time gap increased.

Where Else Is It Helpful?
In 1989, C J Camp used this technique to increase the duration of recalling particular things in Alzheimer’s patients, who experience severe memory loss.

Some Apps That Use Spaced Repetition

What’s Common Between Them?
Flashcard or a card bearing information on both sides is useful as a memory aid as cards are reviewed at increasing intervals. Eg: Memorizing vocabulary, historical dates, and formulas from any subject.

How Flashcards Work?

  1. Flashcards are sorted into groups according to how well the learner knows each one.
  2. The learners try to recall the solution written on a flashcard.
  3. If they succeed, they send the card to the next group.
  4. If they fail, they send it back to the first group.

  • Flashprep is an Indian EdTech startup that uses spaced repetition for self-study. It uses flashcards to break study material into bit-sized pieces and plans sessions to maximize information retention.
  • Spaced Repetition is a type of evidence-based education.
  • The abacus which is also known as a counting frame, is a tool used for calculations since ancient times.