India needs a two pronged strategy to reduce the number of cancer cases which is estimated at 5,56,400 lakh now. The country should embark on advanced studies in disease biology on the one hand and document every patient condition and treatment protocol on the other. These two factors will allow to take cancer research and patient survival to the next level of development in oncology, said Dr BS Ajai Kumar, chairman, and CEO, Health Care Global Enterprises, the largest network of oncology care in the country.
While India is accounting for a huge fatality from this dreaded disease, the irony is that it does not have a national cancer registry. The growing incidence of cancer is related to age and environment conditions. Now from an Afro-Asia perspective, India and China which will lead in cancer occurrence, said Dr Ajai Kumar who is also the president of the Afro-Asian Conference of Transitional Research in Oncology (ACTRO).
A three day event on the disease from February 22-25, 2013 is discussing on how Africa and Asia could control cancer and report faster access to treatment modalities to increase life span. The oncologists from Asia and Africa are calling for personalized cancer care and a repository of cancer-based research. The theme ‘From Bedside to Benchmark’ is looking at futuristic technology to improve quality of life.
According to the latest Indian Population-based Cancer Registry, incidence for every 100,000 males and females in key cities is 336.8 in males and a female patient component is 371.1 from Bengaluru, New Delhi and Mumbai.
“India has immense potential to be one of the leaders in oncology research with its burgeoning cancer population and comprehensive cancer care centres. Due to dearth of research in India, we have been depending on the western population data and guidelines, to manage the problem. This is where we insist on patient documentation, database, data mining and follow-ups,” pointed out Dr Ajai Kumar.
“The key reason for poor outcomes is lack of documentation. We need to keep tabs on outcome of patient conditions in hospitals, record and compare morbidity and mortality rates with those globally. While there is a popular perception that research is possible only with grants but on the contrary, documentation requires no funding as it is the onus of every oncologist to ensure patient record details. The ACTRO 2013 conference will act as a platform for oncologists to analyse our own cancer care treatment outcomes, through efficient documentation and data management,” he added.
From a cancer researcher perspective, Prof. MRS Rao, president, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) said that it was the Human Genome Project which led to the creation of a Cancer Atlas Programme. “This has ushered in disease biology which is an emerging discipline for research that combines biochemistry, cell and computational biology. With this research we have identified 14 genes for clinicians to work on treatment protocols.”
A challenge in oncology is the utilization of patient-specific genomic information to develop personalized and targeted therapeutic options. There is also an issue in identifying pharmacological options to overcome resistance, said Dr Prahlad Ram, medical oncologist, MD Anderson Cancer Centre, USA,
Dr Samuel JK Abraham, surgical oncologist, Yamanashi University-faculty of Medicine, Japan, said that the human immune surveillance system has a combination of adaptive and innate pathways working together to tackle cancer.