Monday, 05 May 2014 11:01



The CSIR was established in 1942 as an autonomous, non-profit organization with a wide ranging charter of functions.

CSIR functions:

Promotion, guidance and co-ordination of scientific and industrial research

Collection and dissemination of information on research and industry

Founding of laboratories to carry forward scientific and industrial research

Utilization of the new knowledge for development of industry

Rendering assistance to other institutions conducting research, awarding of fellowships and publishing of scientific journals.

Brief introduction of some programmes of CSIR

a) The CSIR Programme on Bioactives is a mammoth network programme being coordinated by the R&D Planning Division (RDPD), CSIR. It engages 20 CSIR laboratories, 13 universities and three well-known organizations in the traditional system of medicine. It involves screening of Ayurvedic formulations, plants, fungi, microbes and insects against 14 disease areas including cancer, tuberculosis, filaria, malaria, ulcer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer diseases, to identify new lead molecules.

b) A mission mode programme on asthma has been launched for finding a cure for this disease following the realization of CSIR’s role as a nodal player in the field due to the existing expertise in its allergy group and promise shown by its herbal medicine (Asmon) developed by the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata.  Studies carried out by CSIR have already led to significant increase in the understanding of the disease viz., atopic nature of asthma, identification, purification and characterization of allergic proteins, identification of T-cell epitopes of allergens, development of in vitro screening procedure using human endothelial cell adhesion molecules, identification of the human lung surfactant proteins in respiratory disorders, identification of SNPs in few candidate genes for asthma, development and a mouse model of asthma.

The future studies envisaged include an integrated, networked and focused mission aiming at (i) development of therapeutic modalities using SPD and SPA; reversal of TH2 and TH1, response identification of lead molecules by in vitro and in vivo model, (ii) a broad sample collection of affected population, validation of genes involved, studies on gene polymorphism, identification of molecular markers, interactions expressive genes with other genes, determination of the genetic basis of asthma.

c) Psoriasis is one of the most common dermatological diseases affecting around 2 per cent of the world population but its cause and pathogenesis are not clearly understood. Most importantly no preventive/curative therapy exists for psoriasis except the symptomatic management.  Based on the traditional knowledge, the development of a single plant based oral herbal formulation was initiated under NMITLI for making it globally acceptable.  The project is being led by Lupin Laboratories as the industry partner.  Extensive studies comprising fingerprinting, activity guided fractionation, efficacy studies, toxicology, safety pharmacology, pharmaco-kinetics and toxico-kinetics enabled the filing of an Investigational New Drug (IND) application for the first time in the country.  The estimated market for psoriasis therapeutics is around 4 billion and the development will enable India to capture a significant part of the market.

d) Worldwide, around two billion people are infected with M. tuberculosis.  Nearly, 8 million new cases are added annually and the biggest burden is in South East Asia. Around 3 million deaths owing to tuberculosis (TB) are reported every year and India accounts for a substantial percentage. With the rampant Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), TB is reaching almost epidemic proportions. It kills one in three people co-infected with HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, TB is a major barrier to economic development, costing India over Rs. 12,000 crore a year. Considering these aspects CSIR through the NMITLI scheme supported a project entitled “Latent M. tuberculosis: New targets, drug delivery systems and Bio-enhancers and therapeutics” in the year 2001. Significant success has been achieved in the project.An IND for a new pharmacophore for the treatment of tuberculosis has been filed.  This is the first success achieved in developing new tuberculosis therapeutic in the last 40 years globally.  The molecule, Sudoterb, works through combination therapy (compatible with the present drugs), is less toxic, clears the total infection within two months and no recurrence has been observed. It fits well into the present four-drug therapy by replacing one or two drugs from the present cocktail.  Some new drug targets have also been developed along with a novel drug delivery system.

e) Eighteen research institutes and three industries, were brought together to develop the comprehensive, portable and versatile software package christened ‘BioSuite’. Led by TCS, the team has developed the software, which will serve as a multipurpose tool for carrying out diverse bioanalyses ranging from gene analysis to comparative genomics, pathway modeling to homology modeling and molecular visualization & manipulation to drug designing.  The software has several unique features, which are not present in similar other packages available in the market.  BioSuite comprises eight modules involving 114 sub modules and 243 algorithms.

f) The Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) is a collaborative project with the Department of AYUSH, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.  The main objective of this network project is to prevent misappropriation of India’s rich heritage of traditional knowledge.  India has had unsavoury experience of noting the grant of wrong patents on turmeric by USPTO and neem by EPO.

These patents were successfully challenged by India and revoked in an expensive and time-consuming process.

The TKDL database provides an easily accessible and retrievable source for patent examiners to verify claims relating to traditional knowledge. The First phase of TKDL-Ayurveda presents information and images gleaned from 14 Ayurvedic texts and transcribed in five international languages -- English, German, French, Spanish and Japanese, using innovative IT software. Over 36,000 formulations have been transcribed in patent application format. Currently work is in progress on the second phase, which will cover Unani, Siddha, and the residual work on Ayurveda. TKDL-Unani will cover 77,000 formulations.

g) As a leading S&T organization of a nation rich in marine bounty, CSIR is also investigating our oceans. An all India coordinated project 'Drugs from the Sea’ funded by Department of Ocean Development, Government of India, and coordinated by the Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, is being conducted in collaboration with 10 participating laboratories for exploiting marine flora and fauna for development of drugs as well as herbal remedies.  The programme covers all aspects of drug research including isolation of active molecules, their characterization and development.