Clinicians and basic scientists need to work together to evolve better treatment protocols for cancers, Mayil Vahanan Natarajan, Vice Chancellor, The Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University said on Thursday.

Inaugurating Cancercon 2010, a three-day conclave of clinicians and scientists hosted by the Department of Biotechnology, IIT-M and the Cancer Research and Relief Trust (CRRT), Dr. Natarajan said the divide between the clinician and scientist communities where they worked independently and without cohesion remained a stumbling block in formulating innovative treatment strategies.

He also called for greater collaboration among academic institutions and scientific institutions to evolve therapeutics for cancers and to stimulate research interest in young students.

Job Kurian, Dean, IIT-M, underscored the role of institutions like the IIT to bring about a symbiosis of basic and applied sciences. The Biotechnology department at IIT was involved in external research projects worth an estimated Rs.300 million, he said.

C.S. Mani, surgical oncologist, CRRT, said molecular biologists were engaged in studies on cell behaviour that could enhance understanding of cancer onset and progression. Such an understanding is the key to develop treatment for cancers that has been about finding the balance between radiation, surgery and chemotherapy.

The research at IIT’s biotechnology unit ranges across the studies of cross talk between cancer-related genes, the role of intermediaries in cancer causation and treatment, stem cells and head and neck cancers. K.B. Ramachandran, chairman of the organising committee, spoke.