GCRI – Research for a better tomorrow
It all started with a cultural event in 1961. The event, organized by the women members of the Inner Wheel Club of Ahmedabad, raised the initial amount used to set up the Gujarat Cancer Society with then Governor of Gujarat, Nawab Mehdi Nawaz Jung, as its first president. GCRI or The Gujarat Cancer and Research Institute were established in 1972 with the collaboration between the state government and the Gujarat Cancer Society. Today, it is one of the 25 regional cancer centers funded by the center. In 1980, the Department of Cancer Biology was set up as the research wing of the institute, primarily focusing on biochemistry, molecular endocrinology, and cell biology. It has now expanded into several impressive state-of-the-art research labs: Tumour Biology Lab, Molecular Oncology Lab, Cytogenetics Lab, Stem Cell Biology Lab, Clinical Carcinogenesis Lab, and Immuno-Haematology Lab.
The Cancer Biology Department is engaged in basic as well as applied research in cancer biology. It also provides advanced cancer diagnostic services to patients. Presently, 22 research projects and 13 clinical trials are on at GCRI. It is recognized by the Gujarat University and is affiliated to B J Medical College, Ahmedabad, for its MSc. (Cancer Biology) and Ph.D. (Life Sciences) courses. It also offers a Ph.D. (Biochemistry) degree recognized by the MS University, Vadodara. Researchers at GCRI are exploring new approaches to fight the disease as well as new ways to maximize the use of existing medicines, either alone or in combination with other therapies, to treat various forms of this disease, says Pankaj R Patel, Chairman, GCRI. Clinical research projects have actively been pursued at the department since its establishment. It has consistently made contributions to cancer clinical research data in the country. The major areas of research are genomics, pharmacogenomics, cancer signal transudation, proteomics, cytogenetics, etiology, stem cell biology, etc.
IN 1980, THE DEPARTMENT OF CANCER BIOLOGY WAS SET UP AS THE RESEARCH WING OF THE INSTITUTE, PRIMARILY FOCUSING ON BIOCHEMISTRY, MOLECULAR ENDOCRINOLOGY, AND CELL BIOLOGY
Major ongoing research projects focus on molecular signatures with the aim of identifying unique mutations in Indian cancer patients, and the geographic variations in them in the causes of cancer, their genetic profile and proteomics or glycoproteomics profile; discovering new drugs and identifying new drug targets; developing salivary diagnostic techniques as a non-invasive early detection tool for oral cancer; exploring cancer biology to improve the cancer screening in Indians at molecular level. Over 200 clinical investigations have been carried out utilizing advanced diagnostic and molecular methods such as conventional cytogenetics, PCR, Real-Time PCR, FISH, Multi-colour FISH, Immuno-chemiluminescence enzyme assay, ELISA, Immunohistochemistry, Flow Cytometry, etc. A multinational project on ‘Immunoscore’, a novel prognostic tool for classification of colon cancer, is currently going on at the Biochemistry Research Division. Patel affirms that cancer care research, state-of-the-art therapeutic efforts as well as intensive and extensive educational efforts towards prevention, detection, treatment, and palliation, will help us win the war against cancer.