In an attempt to understand the root cause of breast cancer in ethnically diverse, non-caucasian population, pharma major Glaxo-Smithkline has selected two doctors from India for a global study under its Oncology International ethnic Research Initiative.

“The 26 research projects, considered for a grant globally, will include breast cancer epidemiology, ethnicity, genetics, molecular/genetic epidemiology, risk assessment, biomarkers of risk or other factors contributing to breast cancer,” Sunder Rajan, General Manager, Corporate communication of the company told PTI.

All the aspects of basic research that will develop potential solutions to prevent and meet the challenges of breast cancer in diverse ethnic populations will be carried out by the researchers, he said.

Dr Shona Nag, Consultant Medical Oncologist, Jehangir Hospital and Medical Centre, Pune and Dr Sudeep Gupta, Associate Professor, Department of Medical Oncology, Tata Memorial Hospital will be doing the detailed study in India.

Once the individual research projects are complete, the findings will be shared with the global scientific community to help achieve the ultimate goal of reducing and preventing breast cancer incidence, morbidity and mortality in ethnically diverse populations, Rajan said.

Meanwhile, Nag and Gupta said that ethnic variations in 1000 Indian women will be studied taking the risk factors in three sub—types between the age group of 40 and above.

The subtypes include Hormone positive with 40 per cent occurrence in India (60 per cent in western countries), HER2+ type, which has 20 to 30 per cent occurence (20 per cent in western countries) and Triple Negative with 30 per cent of occurrence in India are of this type, compared to 10 to 15 per cent in western countries.

Gupta said so far, the studies on breast cancer was done in a general manner taking obesity, early child birth and late child birth into consideration but in this study the risk factors involving three sub—types will be looked into.

“We will also be working on viral markers in this study,” Gupta said.

The study is expected to reveal first hand information and risk factors for the subtypes will help to define preventive strategy for the Indian population, Nag said.

Of the 3.2 billion women in the world, 90 per cent are non-Caucasian.

In 2002, there were more than one million new cases of breast cancer in the world, making it the most common among women, with around 40 per cent of cases in developing countries, Rajan said

More In: Medicine | Health | Sci-Tech