ICMR-NICPR – Fighting on multiple fronts
Last year, South Asia’s first tobacco testing laboratories were set up in Noida, Mumbai and Guwahati. The National Tobacco Testing Laboratory in Noida has been established at the National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research (NICPR) to test the contents of all kinds of tobacco products in the country. NICPR was first established by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) as Cytology Research Centre (CRC) in 1979. It was upgraded to the level of an institute in 1989. In 2016, it acquired the national status specifying its mandate and contributions to cancer prevention in the country. The focus of research at the centre is on pre-cancer, uterine, cervix, breast and oral cavity cancers. ICMR-NICPR has adopted multidisciplinary research encompassing clinico-epidemiological studies, early cancer detection activities, genetic susceptibility studies and molecular markers, says Prof. Ravi Mehrotra, Director, NICPR. “ICMR-NICPR has a unique approach of amalgamating strong basic, clinical and applied research, involving medical and community practice with an emphasis on primary and secondary prevention through screening AND early detection of cancer.” NICPR has contributed greatly to cervical cancer research. Clinical downstaging, visual examination of the cervix with selective cytology screening and evolution of new diagnostic procedures for HPV and other onocogenes have been launched for screening and early detection of cervical cancer. Presently, research at NICPR is going on mainly in the fields of transcriptional control of viral gene expression, preparatory work on India-specific HPV vaccine and investigation of breast cancer susceptibility genes. The institute conducts research for developing preventive and therapeutic methods for cancer prevention and diagnosis in the community. It also promotes community intervention studies for common cancers through health system
research with a focus on primary and secondary prevention. NICPR has been actively involved in the preparation of the Operational Framework Document for screening and management of cancer released in 2016 by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). It helps with the cost-effective screening of common cancers in India based on population. The institute is a part of several esteemed scientific committees both nationally and internationally. It also shares memorandum of understanding with many prominent Indian institutes. NICPR has created an inexpensive, simple-to-use, battery powered portable visual device to facilitate easy and improved visualisation of the oral cavity and cervix. It has been launched by MoHFW and can be used in cancer screening programmes. The institute is the Cancer Prevention Hub for Project Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) wherein ECHO platform is utilised for virtual training in remote areas for capacity building for cancer screening. To bridge the gap between clinicians and translational researchers, ICMR-NICPR organizes various workshops and brainstorming sessions from time to time and encourages meaningful collaborative projects, according to Prof. Mehrotra. “NICPR has made significant progress both in scientific and developmental fronts. It will continue to work hard to reach greater heights in cancer research for benefit and welfare of mankind,” he adds.
“ICMR-NICPR HAS A UNIQUE APPROACH OF AMALGAMATING STRONG BASIC, CLINICAL AND APPLIED RESEARCH, INVOLVING MEDICAL AND COMMUNITY PRACTICE WITH AN EMPHASIS ON PRIMARY AND SECONDARY PREVENTION THROUGH SCREENING AND EARLY DETECTION OF CANCER.”Prof. Ravi Mehrotra Director,