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Century-old silk-weaving design body carves a niche in medical research

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, June 29 - A century old, once-secret organisation to promote creative designs in silk weaving in southern Assam, has now also become a force to reckon with in the field medical and science research.

Carving a niche for itself, the KaviKrishna Lab of Sualkchi, which has been making path-breaking research in cancer and tuberculosis interventions, and enabling local students to be a part of these projects, is soon going to release its breakthrough research in cancer stem cells. The KaviKrishna Lab was registered in Tatipara in Sualkuchi of Kamrup district and has travelled a long way since its formation as an informal family trust, Krishna Samaz, in 1920.

The aim is to support creative people having revolutionary ideas on silk design/production while keeping its existence a secret owing to an ancient Kamrupi tradition of secrecy, strictly followed by the weavers until the early decades of 20th century.

The lab had entered the world map with a bang with the publication of its study on dormant Mycobacterium in TB in June 2013. This work was published in Science Translational Medicine and subsequently in a reputed journal The American Journal of Pathology in 2015. It has now emerged as a leading hub in stem cell research and for educational programmes in this field in North East India. It has been at the forefront of exploring the newly identified role of stem cell altruism in global health diseases like cancer and tuberculosis.

Many PhD students and physicians have received training in the Lab in order to develop research capacity building on stem cell based on global health research.

Two research scholars, Joyeeta Talukdar and Sorra Sandhya, have completed their PhD in October 2017. After completion of their PhDs, they have moved to �Stem Cell Facility, AIIMS� for further research. They have been working on the MYC/herbal medicine projects, and working with current PhD scholar and KaviKrishna Lab manager, Seema Bhuyan, and PHD scholar Sukanya Gayan.

The Lab has successfully achieved recognition as a Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (SIRO) from the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research (DSIR). In 2018, the laboratory completed six years of research capacity building.

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