Understanding tuberculosis pathophysiology at case presentation and its alteration during therapeutic interventions is the key research target of the Translational Health Group (Nanda) in New Delhi. The team generates baseline data on microbiome dysbiosis, host genetics that might influence tuberculosis susceptibility or drug response and also elucidate pathogen diversity to discover new molecular targets for drug discovery. The Khanna Group continues investigations into Dengue, a mosquito- borne viral disease that is rapidly spreading globally, and is prevalent in more than 100 countries, with over 1 million new infections each day. Dengue infections result in massive economic losses, strained health services, morbidity and mortality, especially among children. The Dengue menace warrants an urgent need for a safe, affordable and efficacious vaccine, an antiviral, and point-of-care diagnostics.
The Dengue vaccine technology developed by Dr Khanna’s team was licensed to Sun Pharma in 2016. Process scale-up has been conducted in the Sun Pharma affiliated Biotech company in Germany in 2019, and has been brought back to India for in-house development under the National Biopharma Mission, Government of India. A GMP facility of Sun Pharma is being established in Bangalore and efforts are being made to reach Phase 1 efficacy trials. The co-development of the world’s first Botanical drug with Sun Pharma for the treatment of Dengue infection has successfully completed Phase 1 clinical trial. Permission is being sought from the drug controller of India for conducting Phase 2 trials. Upon approval by the Indian drug controller, up to 300 patients will be recruited and treatment will commence in the next dengue season. The Nanda Group with its clinical collaborators demonstrated altered proteome composition of serum small extracellular vesicles (sEVs) isolated from healthy controls and drug naïve active tuberculosis patients. A set of four important sEVs proteins (SERPINA1,KYAT3, HP and APOC3) involved in neutralizing bacterial infection, psychotic symptoms, acute immune response and adipose tissue lipolysis were found to be deregulated in tuberculosis patients (Proteomics Clin Appl. 2020;14(1):e1900062). Whole genome sequencing of clinical drug resistant Mycobacterial strains showed novel genetic variations which provides clue to resistance development to different tuberculosis drugs at population level (Microbiol Resour Announc. 2020;9(17):e01567-19). The team with its collaborators showed that CMTM6 is a major driver of cisplatin resistance development in experimental oral cancer cell lines and in patient derived cancer cells which could be useful as an important target to overcome resistance (JCI Insight 2021.;6(4):e143643).