New Delhi (ISJ) ? With cancer disease burden in India fast reaching pandemic proportion, the Department of Biotechnology has signed an agreement with the upcoming National Cancer Institute (NCI) at Jhajjar, Haryana for cancer research. Billed as one of the largest healthcare projects in India at an investment of Rs. 2,000 crore (200 million), encompassing both public and private sector, the NCI will be a translational cancer research institute, focussing research, development of affordable technologies, vaccines, diagnostics and joint design of clinical trials. It is being set up as part of the new All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
Briefing media persons in New Delhi on Tuesday (Sept 02), head of the NCI Dr. G.K. Rath said, cancer has emerged among the top three causes of death in India, whereas at the turn of independence, it was not among the ten top causes of death. He said 11 lakh new cases are added every year to the national cancer burden of 30 lakh cases. But unfortunately about 80 per cent of the disease is diagnosed only at an advanced stage, which results in higher casualties.
"Certain types of cancers are India-specific like Gall Bladder cancer, liver cancer, etc. and a treatment for such types of cancers have to be found within the country," said Dr. Rath.
India has about 28 Regional Cancer Centres that mainly treats patients and research has not been their priority. NCI will bridge this gap and undertake research specially on cancers unique to India such as Gall Bladder, oral and cervical and naso-pharyngeal cancer, with high disease burden.
- N.B. Nair