Investigating ‘The Emperor Of All Maladies’
The escalating cancer cases in the country mandates research on India-specific cancers, their risk factors and the efficacy of different treatment modalities. Leading cancer research centers across the country are tirelessly working on translating research discoveries into efficient clinical care, and effective state and central disease management programs.BY Aatika H Jain
Cancer remains the second major cause of death worldwide, right after cardiovascular diseases. According to the Globocan 2018 report, there were more than 1.15 million new cancer cases in India, which translates to a 15.7 percent increase from 2012. The number of cancer deaths was recorded at 784,821, a 12.1 percent increase since 2012. The mounting number of cancer cases underscores the growing significance of cancer research in the country.
Several Indian medical colleges, universities, pharmaceutical colleges and research centers are doing preclinical cancer research, discovery, and development of the drug, etiopathology assessment, and its molecular characterization. But the clinical translation of the preclinical discoveries is comparatively less. This could be improved with increased collaboration between the various preclinical and clinical research institutes or departments. In January this year, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), allegedly the largest cancer hospital in India, opened its doors to the public. The state-of-the-art 710-bed center located in the Jhajjar district of Haryana is a division of AIIMS-II campus. Its objective is to add impetus to cancer research in the country and also share the patient burden of AIIMS cancer center. It has been designed after the National Cancer Institute in the US.
NCI will head the network of State Cancer Institutes and Tertiary Care Cancer Centres and shall manage all cancer-related initiatives. Its main objective would be translational research in cancers specific to India. This definitely heralds brighter prospects for cancer research in India and in turn, more efficient, comprehensive cancer care for Indian patients.
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