In a move to bolster cancer research and treatment in India, city-based Tata Memorial Hospital on Wednesday signed a memorandum of understanding with United States based National Cancer Institute (NCI) to collaborate on research on cancer, their types, treatment and early screening.
With this, the 68 institutes attached with NCI in US and 87 institutes attached in India under the National Cancer Grid, will be able to pool together vast data on cancer patients and different kinds of cancers plaguing the two countries.
“We have already collaborated on breast and cervical cancer trial with NCI. With this MoU, we will also focus on rare types of cancer such as gall bladder that is rampant only in India and Chile,” said TMH director Dr Rajan Badwe.
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The work of both hospitals will be utilised to treat cancer patients in countries such as South Africa, Kenya, and Tanzania. “The efforts to improve infrastructure in those countries is underway. But we are also hoping to screen and treat as many patients as possible,” said Badwe.
The two institutes will also conduct trials on patients registered under the national cancer grid and at NCI. There would be an exchange of doctors for training between India and US. “In the US, we have a large population of inherited diseases and genetic cancer. With large scale trials, better treatment methods can be developed and implemented. The partnership will help cancer care globally,” said Ted Trembele, director at NCI.
According to Trembele, cases of oral cancer are high in India due to chewing tobacco. “A lot of work needs to be done for treating the patients. But prevention is also important. Areca nut consumption is high in India,” he said.