In New Delhi, IIT Madras has recently launched a groundbreaking "Center of Excellence on Cancer Genomics and Molecular Therapeutics." This center is dedicated to conducting research aimed at creating biomarkers that can detect pancreatic cancer at an early stage. The initiative by IIT Madras is anticipated to aggregate sequence data, contributing to the construction of a specialized cancer genome database for India.
This research is critical for identifying and progressing biomarkers that are crucial for the early detection and understanding of how drugs respond. The information derived from this endeavor could also significantly aid in identifying drug targets for innovative therapeutic strategies. Pancreatic Cancer (PDAC) currently ranks as the fourth leading cause of cancer-related deaths globally, and projections suggest it may rise to the second position within the next decade.
Due to the lack of Indian-specific cancer genome data, current studies heavily rely on information derived from Western populations. Consequently, the survival rate for cancer patients in India remains considerably lower compared to that in Western societies, primarily due to the inherent genomic diversity. In the context of advancing research, S Mahalingam, the principal investigator from the Department of Biotechnology at IIT Madras, further elaborated that the identified biomarkers from the ongoing research will be instrumental in developing real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) and sequencing-based early diagnostic kits.
In the context of advancing research, S Mahalingam, the principal investigator from the Department of Biotechnology at IIT Madras, further elaborated that the identified biomarkers from the ongoing research will be instrumental in developing real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) and sequencing-based early diagnostic kits.
Furthermore, these identified targets for drugs will play a crucial role in the advancement of customized and pioneering anti-cancer treatments specifically designed for pancreatic cancer.
He also emphasized that the preclinical models of cancer will provide invaluable perspectives for the screening of drugs and a deeper comprehension of cancer pathogenesis in living organisms. The successful development of an organoid will facilitate efficient and rapid cancer drug screening. Additionally, there are plans to extend a similar strategy to tackle other prevalent forms of cancer in India. This, in turn, will pave the way for the establishment of a startup company dedicated to cancer therapeutics and diagnostics, he disclosed.
has set its primary focus on the development of a non-invasive biomarker gene panel. This panel aims to enable early diagnosis, continuous disease monitoring, tracking of disease progression, and evaluating responses to treatments.
Additionally, the center is dedicated to establishing a preclinical 3D organoid model. This model will serve as a crucial tool for monitoring diseases and screening drugs, especially for tailoring personalized cancer treatments.
The collaborative nature of the Center of Excellence involves experts from various fields such as cancer biology, bioengineering, computational biology, and clinical practice. It represents one of the pioneering interdisciplinary efforts in India.
This high level of collaboration is seen as essential for making significant strides in enhancing healthcare infrastructure in India, not only for cancer treatment but also for broader healthcare improvements.
The Center of Excellence (CoE) aims to extend its expertise and technical support to the scientific community, particularly in its research endeavors spanning various areas. These areas primarily include identifying cancer-specific biomarkers and transitioning drug discovery and development from laboratory research to an industrial scale. Moreover, the CoE has established a collaborative partnership with Dr. Daniel Murphy from the Cancer Research UK-Beatson Institute in the UK. This collaboration is focused on investigating cancer pathogenesis, identifying novel drug targets, and developing animal models to gain insights into cancer pathogenesis.