Sci & Tech

India’s First Home-Grown Gene Therapy for Cancer: NexCAR19


  • Developed by ImmunoACT and Tata Memorial Hospital.
  • CAR-T cell therapy for B-cell cancers like leukemia and lymphoma.

CAR-T Cell Therapy:

  • Modifies patient’s T cells to recognize and attack cancer.
  • T cells are extracted, modified in lab, and reinfused into patient.

Different Types of Cell Therapies:

  • Stem Cell Therapy: Transplants stem cells to replace damaged cells.
  • Dendritic Cell Therapy: Uses immune cells to coordinate immune response against cancer.

B and T-Cells:

  • B-cells and T-cells are lymphocytes, types of white blood cells.
  • Types of T-cells: Cytotoxic, Helper, Regulatory.
  • B-cells produce antibodies in response to antigens.

Cancer and Its Types:

  • Large group of diseases where abnormal cells grow uncontrollably.
  • Categorized based on behavior (benign or malignant) and stage.
  • Types include Carcinomas, Sarcomas, Leukemias, Lymphomas, CNS cancers.


  • NexCAR19 represents a significant milestone in India’s cancer treatment.
  • CAR-T cell therapy offers hope for patients with B-cell cancers.
  • Understanding cancer types crucial for effective treatment strategies.


Three-Dimensional Map of the Universe (April 2024)

Source: International team of researchers

Instrument: Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI)

  • Mounted on Mayall 4-Meter Telescope in Arizona, USA
  • Captures light from 5,000 galaxies simultaneously


  • Light from 6 million galaxies, some 11 billion years old
  • Distances between galaxies measured with high accuracy (key for 3D map)

Collaboration: DESI (over 900 researchers worldwide)

  • India’s Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) is the only participating institution

Purpose: To learn more about dark energy

Dark Matter and Dark Energy:

  • Universe composition:
    • Dark energy: 68% (repulsive force, accelerating expansion)
    • Dark matter: 27% (attractive force, holds universe together)
    • Normal matter: less than 5%
  • Dark matter:
    • Does not interact with electromagnetic force (invisible)
    • Affects gravity (acts like cosmic cement)
  • Dark energy:
    • Repulsive force (anti-gravity)
    • More dominant force than dark matter



Hike in Prices of Essential Medicines

  • National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA):
    • Independent regulatory agency that controls the prices of pharmaceutical drugs in India.
    • Set up under the Department of Pharmaceuticals.
  • Essential Medicines:
    • Satisfy the priority healthcare needs of the majority of the population.
    • The essential medicines list needs to be country-specific.
    • First country to compose its EML was Tanzania in 1970.
    • In India, The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare prepared the first National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) in 1996.
    • Drug Price Control Order, 2013 was issued for fixing the ceiling price of medicines included in NLEM.


Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Act, 2023 

Context: New Model Rules require recording religion of both parents during birth registration.


  • Birth certificate now captures:
    • Religion of father (separate from mother’s religion)
    • Religion of adoptive parents (if applicable)

Act Amendments:

  • Amends Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969.
  • Establishes a national database of births and deaths maintained by the Registrar General of India.
  • States are required to share birth and death data with the national database.
  • National database may connect with other databases like NPR, voter rolls, ration cards.
  • Digital birth certificates become single document for various purposes:
    • Education admissions
    • Voter list registration
    • Government jobs
    • Other purposes decided by central government.
  • All births and deaths must be digitally registered.

National Population Register (NPR):

  • First step towards National Register of Citizens (NRC).
  • Database of 1.19 billion residents (collected in 2010, updated in 2015).

Statistical Information:

  • Parents’ religion recorded for statistical purposes (not legal information).
  • Birth register now collects (if available):
    • Aadhaar number
    • Mobile phone and email IDs of both parents



Agni-Prime Ballistic Missile

  • New generation ballistic missile successfully flight-tested by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) along with the DRDO.
  • Features:
    • Two-stage, surface-to-surface, canister-launched, road-mobile, and solid-fueled medium-range ballistic missile.
    • Dual redundant navigation and guidance system.
    • Range between 1000 to 2000 km.
    • Lighter than all the earlier Agni series of missiles.
    • Significant upgrades to composite motor casing, manoeuvrable reentry vehicle (MaRV), propellants, navigation, and guidance systems.
  • Ballistic Missiles:
    • Rocket-propelled, self-guided strategic-weapons system.
    • Delivers a payload from launch site to a predetermined target.
    • Can carry conventional high explosives, chemical, biological, or nuclear munitions.
  • Strategic Forces Command (SFC):
    • Part of India’s Nuclear Command Authority (NCA).
    • Manages and administers the country’s tactical and strategic nuclear weapons stockpile.


Project Akashdeep

  • Indian Army initiative to bolster its air defence capabilities.
  • Akashteer Command and Control Systems:
    • Developed by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) as part of the Atma Nirbhar Bharat initiative.
    • Automates air defence control and reporting processes by digitising the entire process.
    • Mobile Control Centres for maintaining operational capabilities in challenging environments.
    • Monitors low-level airspace and controls Ground Based Air Defence Weapon Systems.
    • Integrates radar and communication systems for situational awareness and control.
  • Project Akashdeep:
    • Automated air defence control and reporting system.
    • Builds a comprehensive air defence picture for monitoring, tracking, and engaging air defence assets.


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