Lucknow's SGPGIMS bags Australian patent for study on steroid toxicity

Lucknow's SGPGIMS bags Australian patent for study on steroid toxicity

Funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, this study has been registered as an innovation patent for 8 years starting August 16, 2021.

Lucknow's Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS) has bagged its first innovative patent from Australia for innovation in the management of childhood Idiopathic Nephrotic Syndrome (NS). Funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), New Delhi, this study has been registered as an innovation patent for the next eight years, starting August 16, 2021.


Around 8000 cases of nephrosis are detected at SGPGIMS, every year

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The Commonwealth of Australia has granted an international patent to the nephrology department of SGPGIMS for its study- "A Method to Determine a Steroid-Resistant Phenotype in Childhood Idiopathic Nephrotic Syndrome by Utilising a Pharmacogenomic Biomarkers". As per Prof Narain Prasad, the HoD of Nephrology Department at SGPGI, "As a result of the disease, children lose the heavy amount of protein in the urine and swelling appears all over the body. Gradually, it may lead to kidney failure, requiring dialysis and renal transplantation. The treatment for this disease rests on steroids, but while some children are resistant to steroids since the beginning, many develop resistance during treatment."

Reportedly, around 8,000 cases of nephrosis are reported each year at SGPGI alone. Generally, at least 10 to 20% of children do not respond to steroid therapy. While an average of one-third of the remaining 80% of patients develop steroid resistance after the initial response, the other proportion develops the resistance to steroids in the later stages. According to the HoD, prolonged resistance to steroids leads to a kind of toxicity in the body, which results in various health issues. These problems include frequent infections, weakening of immunity, stunted growth, bone weakness and other metabolic conditions like diabetes and cataract.

Patent valid for the next 8 years

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According to the professor, in case of resistance, the body treats steroid like a foreign substance and triggers release of glycoproteins P-gp and MRP-1. These proteins on the body cell surface work like an efflux pump and bloat to prevent penetration of the medicine inside the body. As a consequence, the medicine fails to work and the symptoms start showing up again. Exposing children to tests in order to determine P-gp and MRP-1 levels in blood might be of help, said Prof. Prasad. The study establishing the success of this method has been published in high impact medical journal Nature's publication Pharmacogenomics, added Prasad.

"The challenges became the base for research and evolved into an innovation, which earned the Australian patent. Valid for eight years, the patented method recognised new biomarkers -- called P-gp and MRP-1 in this case -- to identify steroid resistance so that the alternative regimen may be introduced," said the HoD who lead the team for this study.

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