The two interlinked websites on the life and work of Dr SubbaRow, hailed as an eminent medical mind of the 20th century, were launched by Dean P C Sharma of IPU’s School of Biotechnology at the 109th SubbaRow Birth anniversary function organised by BRAINS the Biotechnology Research and Information Society.
The websites have been designed by BRAINS member Pankaj Maheshwari, Veenu Aishwarya with inputs by science writers Asha Ramachandran, Dinesh Sharma, N Raghuram and S P K Gupta.
National Institute of Immunology Director Sandip Basu delivered the Third SubbaRow Memorial lecture on ‘the quest for magic bullets’.
Dr SubbaRow’s own quest for a ‘panacea’ or cure-all was successful with the discovery and isolation of Aureomycin the first broad-spectrum tetracycline effective against a whole range of infectious bacterial and viral diseases. Recently, a half a century after SubbaRow’s death, tetracyclines have been inducted even in the fight against dreaded forms of malaria.
Likewise, SubbaRow’s folic acid vitamin, initially used for treating anaemias, is now being prescribed to prevent heart ailments. Antifolics like Methotrexate, introduced by SubbaRow in cancer chemotherapy, have now found uses in rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and asthma. And long-standing misgivings about his filarial cure, diethyl carbamazine (DEC), have now been found to be groundless and it is being used by WHO in its world wide mass campaigns against elephantiasis the ugly disease.
Drawing on SubbaRow’s patent battles, Professor K Kannan of IPU’s Biotechnology school, spoke on ‘intellectual property rights in biotechnology’.
Dean P C Sharma of the school delivered a lecture on ‘post-transcriptional gene silencing as a tool in plant functional genomics’. (SubbaRow Club)