Tamil Nadu

‘India-specific cancer genome database being developed’

IIT-Madras has established a cancer genomics facility, and in the last four years, has collected 3,000 tissue and blood samples of cancer patients in and around Chennai. | File  

The Union Health Ministry, in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras, is developing India-specific cancer genome database that will help identify biomarkers specific to the Indian population. This will help in early diagnosis, and also identify drug targets for the Indian population.

IIT-Madras has established a cancer genomics facility, and in the last four years, has collected 3,000 tissue and blood samples of cancer patients in and around Chennai. The idea was to collect 10 lakh tissue samples from across the country.

On Saturday, Union Minister of State for Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey, along with a team from the Indian Council of Medical Research, visited the facility at the IIT-Madras.

“We are launching a ‘war against cancer’. There is a fear among people when it comes to cancer and we want to spread the awareness that it is curable. We want to concentrate on its prevention. We are focusing on genetics so that we can have personalised drugs. We also want public-private partnership to generate funds for cancer treatment,” the Minister told reporters.

“The Ministry is looking at connecting other States, and other databases available in the country. This would reduce the cost of genomics treatment for cancer. As of now, samples were taken to Western countries for testing, costing ₹5-₹7 lakh. When done in India, the cost could come down to ₹50,000,” he noted.

the standard practices for treating cancer patients.

With initial cancer screening lacking in the country, the Union Health Ministry is looking at joining hands with health providers. Tamil Nadu, having one of the best models in healthcare in the private sector, could provide expertise for the rest of the country. Already, pacts were signed with centres for cancer screening in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Assam, he said.

Vaccine park

HLL Biotech Limited (HBL), a subsidiary of HLL and a Government of India enterprise, had established an integrated vaccine complex at Chengalpattu. The Ministersaid the government was looking at sparing a few projects of HLL such as HBL that produces vaccines.

“We are looking at how to take the project forward, and how to strengthen HBL. We will do everything to sustain it,” he said. On the upcoming All India Institute of Medical Sciences at Thoppur, he said land has been allotted and tenders were floated for construction of buildings.


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Dec 9, 2021 7:15:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/india-specific-cancer-genome-database-being-developed/article29248804.ece

Next Story