Rs. 3.6 crore Research grant for pigmentary disorders
With the Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance conferring an Intermediate Fellowship Award on an Assistant Professor at Faridabad-based Regional Centre for Biotechnology, Dr. Rajender K. Motiani, the research studies trying to get to the bottom of pigmentary disorders problems is expected to increase. The award is for a period of five years and consists of a grant of Rs. 3.60 crore.
Skin is protected against harmful UV radiation by a critical defense mechanism called physiological pigmentation. One of the leading causes of cancer-associated deaths worldwide is skin cancer and inefficient pigmentation predisposes to skin cancers. Moreover, both hypo and hyper pigmentary disorders impart long-term psychological trauma and tremendously hamper the mental well-being of patients as this disorder is considered a social stigma. In alleviating pigmentary disorders, current therapeutic strategies are not efficient.
Targetable molecular players that critically regulate the pigmentation process will be sought to be identified from the research project taken up under the award. For the treatment of pigmentary disorders, the researchers would further try to repurpose commercially available drugs. Two-pronged benefits for society – potential treatment options for pigmentary disorders and protection from UV-induced skin cancers are expected from this project in the long run.
To understand how the enzymes regulating melanin synthesis and to understand the melanosome proteins involved in their maturation and biogenesis has been the focus in the pigmentation biology field so far. However, melanin synthesis and melanosome biogenesis are complex phenomena and this process could be regulated potentially by other cellular organelles.
Previously, Dr. Motiani and his team research study on differentially pigmented melanocytes indicated that the critical regulators of pigmentation were Mitochondria and Endoplasmic Reticulum (ER). Delineating the role of Mitochondria and Endoplasmic Reticulum in pigmentation and identifying the key Mitochondrial and Endoplasmic Reticulum proteins that regulate pigmentation is the aim of the new project. Then, to know whether any known drugs could be repurposed for alleviating pigmentary disorders, they would target these signaling cascades with FDA approved drugs.