Leukemia is one of the three major types of blood cancer. While most cases of leukemia, including a subtype of the disease, Philadelphia-positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Ph+ALL, are treatable, almost one-third of Ph+ALL patients have become impossible to treat. A recent study in the Neoplasia journal by faculty at the Aga Khan University’s Center for Regenerative Medicine (CRM) and Cardiff University has pinpointed a series of cascading chemical reactions or a signalling pathway that, when targeted, can kill, or suppress the growth of resistant leukemic cancerous cells. “Our study detected a signalling pathway which is switched on and doesn’t switch off in treatment-resistant Philadelphia-positive Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, Ph+ALL,” says Dr Afsar Mian, an assistant professor at CRM. “Blocking this pathway would prevent a protein from activating another protein thereby preventing the development of resistance in cancer cells and ultimately their growth and spread.”
Dr Alex Awiti, Vice Provost of Aga Khan University, writes that according to the Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services by the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, virtually all indicators of the global state of natural systems are in dangerous decline; biomes, ecosystems and species. More species of plants and animals – terrestrial and aquatic – are threatened with extinction today more than in any other epoch in human history. Climate change and biodiversity loss are inextricably coupled, with potential for vicious cycles of catastrophe. They must be addressed together, as one and not separately.
During a visit to the Wazir Khan Mosque and Chowk, US Chargé d’affaires Angela P Aggeler highlighted the significance of Pakistan’s cultural heritage and the importance of joint US-Pakistan efforts to restore and maintain historic sites. “The Wazir Khan Mosque and Chowk symbolise the great cultural, historical, and religious heritage of the city of Lahore,” Chargé d’affaires Aggeler said. The US Mission in Pakistan works closely with the Aga Khan Foundation Pakistan, along with the Walled City of Lahore Authority. Restoration work supported by the Ambassador’s Fund and the US Mission has helped return the Chowk to its original subterranean level, almost two and a half meters below ground. Also supported were restorations of the eastern façade of the Chowk, the Chowk “hujras,” historic houses, and the Well of Dina Nath.
In 2017, the government in India identified 15 stepwells in Delhi for restoration. In 2019 the Aga Khan Trust for Culture partnered with the German Embassy in India to restore a stepwell in the Humayun Tomb complex in Delhi. States can leverage new technologies to modify traditional water systems for local requirements. In a nation where 600 million people – around half the population – face severe water shortages daily, traditional water-harvesting solutions are a harbinger of hope. "With India's water table rapidly declining, stepwells can help refill ground aquifers and harvest runoffs. In three months during the rainy season, millions of litres of water can be collected," says Ratish Nanda, a conservation architect and projects' director at the Aga Khan Trust for Culture.
The government of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), and the Aga Khan University (AKU) have signed a memorandum of understanding that will lead to the formal adoption and deployment of the AKU’s mobile health application and web portal, Hayat, into the region’s routine health services. The GB government will now take over responsibility for operating the digital platform in the district of Ghizer. In addition to Hayat, the Aga Khan Health Services has been collaborating with AKU on multiple digital health projects in northern Pakistan with an emphasis on maternal, neonatal and child health services, and immunisation programmes