A newly synthesised biocompatible therapeutic nano-micelle drug delivery system, combined with anti-inflammatory drugs, has shown improved potential to cure rheumatoid arthritis at the lab level. It can help ameliorate the pain associated with the condition as well as heal by restoring cartilage integrity to provide flexibility to the bone.

Inflammation plays an important role in the development of rheumatoid arthritis. As a result, treatment strategies have largely focused on providing symptomatic relief from pain, and a permanent cure is not available to date.

Methotrexate (MTX) is considered a gold standard therapy for the condition, but due to its severe side effects researchers are looking for alternative drugs or strategies.

Scientists from the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali, explored the potential of the USFDA-approved anti-inflammatory drug 9-aminoacridine (9AA) and the natural compound caffeic acid, generally found in coffee or wine (reported to possess significant anti-arthritic potential), conjugated to nano-micelles — an amphiphilic molecule that forms a spherical structure when immersed in water — for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

A research group led by scientist Dr Rehan Khan, along with senior research fellow Akshay Vyawahare, has developed a therapeutic nano-micelle loaded with anti-inflammatory drug 9AA.

When administered, it shows site-specific inhibition of inflammatory mediators due to the activation of the NR4A1 gene (nuclear receptor sub-family 4 group A member 1), which regulates inflammatory mechanism by inhibiting pro-inflammatory cytokines through fluorescent 9AA.

The nano-micelle itself has potential to provide therapeutic effect, but when combined with anti-inflammatory drug, it showed enhanced potential to cure rheumatoid arthritis experimentally by inhibiting joint damage and cartilage degradation, says a press release.

Near-infrared OLEDs

Researchers at IISER, Bhopal, have created a new family of organic molecules that emit light in the near-infrared (NIR) range, opening possibilities for OLEDs for various applications. Led by Prof Jeyaraman Sankar, the team’s research marks a significant breakthrough in the field, as developing NIR-emitting OLEDs has been a challenging endeavour worldwide.

The team’s new approach to obtaining stable electron-deficient molecules with NIR emission using nitration as a strategy is unique, says a press release.

Light-emitting diodes or LEDs are tiny light-emitting devices that are commonly used in applications such as television screens, gadget displays, and so on.

They are different from traditional filament bulbs, as bulbs emit light when heated, but LEDs emit light when electricity (in the form of electrons) passes through them. OLEDs are a form of LEDs where the light emitting materials are organic molecules — chemicals largely made of carbon and hydrogen.

Although visible light-emitting OLEDs have already found mass application in displays for gadgets, televisions, and lighting, producing NIR-emitting OLEDs is challenging due to their unique molecular energy structure. Light-emitting molecules generate light when electrons fall from a high-energy state (HOMO) to a low-energy state (LUMO) inside the molecule, and the colour of the emitted light depends on the energy difference between the two states. The energy difference in organic molecules corresponds to visible light, making visible light-emitting OLEDs easier to design.