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India, UK ink MoU for research on affordable cancer technology

India’s Department of Biotechnology and the Cancer Research UK have inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for an India-UK Cancer Research Initiative.

The MoU was signed earlier this week in New Delhi at the Inaugural Researchers’ Summit, held from 14 to 16 November.

The initiative is a collaborative five-year bilateral research programme by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the Indian Ministry of Science & Technology, and the Cancer Research UK (CRUK).

The Chief Information Officer (CIO) of the organisation, Ms Tiffany Hall said that technology is being invested in and prioritised at Cancer Research UK like never before. She said the newly created team are focussed on driving forward the sort of cutting-edge solutions that are vital to its continued growth and development.

The India-UK initiative will focus on developing affordable approaches to cancer treatment. Both Cancer Research UK and the Department of Biotechnology will invest GBP £5 million around (US $6.4 million) each in the 5-year pilot and seek further investment from other potential funding partners.

An official press release said that the India-UK Cancer Research Initiative will identify a core set of research challenges that address issues of affordability, prevention and care of cancer. It plans to bring together leading Indian and UK experts across clinical research, demographic research, and new technologies and physical sciences.

The initiative will provide funding to develop new research alliances and has the potential make significant progress in cancer treatment.

Earlier this year, during his visit to the UK, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the two nations will share their experience and knowledge to tackle global challenges. This £10 million (around US $12.8 million) bilateral research initiative will focus on low-cost approaches to cancer.

The release said the India-UK Cancer Research Initiative will provide a catalysing platform for scientists and researchers in the UK and India to co-create solutions for affordable cancer care that improves cancer outcomes around the world.

Cancer Research UK is the world’s largest cancer charity that is dedicated to saving lives through research. According to its website, huge change is happening right now as the organisation’s award-winning Digital and Technology teams join forces to create a leading-edge Tech team that’s significantly ahead of the industry on innovations and solutions in the digital space.

The Department of Biotechnology’s priority is to apply science to solving complex challenges that benefit all humanity and will partner with Cancer Research UK to support research across all stages of cancer from prevention to cure to address the formidable challenge of cancer.

Mr Nick Grant, Cancer Research UK’s Executive Director of international partnerships, said that no country escapes the impact of cancer. Millions around the world diagnosed with the disease every year and the two sides need to bring together the brightest scientific minds across the world and break down barriers to address the challenge of cancer globally.

The Inaugural Researchers’ Summit facilitated knowledge sharing and communication among scientists, researchers, epidemiologists, clinicians, public health professionals, and industry in the field of oncology.

A board of advisors including five cancer experts each from India and UK will oversee the research phases of the initiative. Prof David Hunter of the University of Oxford and Dr CS Pramesh of the Tata Memorial Hospital will serve respectively as Chair and Co-chair of the India-UK Cancer Research Initiative’s Advisory Panel.

The initiative will provide an opportunity to tackle the global epidemic of cancer by opening new pathways for international knowledge exchange and research base.

The research outcomes of this partnership will aid cancer prevention, control and management in the long run.

The release said the joint investment by both countries in this initiative is a testament to the emerging consensus that solutions to affordable cancer care lie in building strategic and evidence-based research partnerships that benefit the global cancer community.

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