India to witness more cancer research in private sector: Bhan

Last Updated: May 06, 2011, 00:00 AM IST

Bangalore: India will see a lot of cancer research happening in the private sector rather than public sector in the coming years, top biotechnology official said.

"I foresee a lot of cancer research happening in the private sector and not in the public sector", M K Bhan Secretary Biotechnology said inagurating Mazumdar-Shaw Center for Advanced Therapeutics (MS-CAT) at Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Center here today.

Private sector can play a very important role in the public health system. "However, the challenge before the private sector will be to come out with a people-centric model rather than a corporate model. Hospital frameworks must cater to the people than work on business models", he said.

Lamenting lack of quality cancer research in the country, Bhan termed the disease as "one of the big challenges before the medical faternity, especially the challenging of keeping "healthy" the elderly population which is growing in the country".

He said a lot financial resources in science was "unspent or not spent in the right direction by the government".

There was not only a need to create research (medical) foundations close to the hospitals and a build a "transparent relationship" between foundations and private institutions, but also communicating these models (foundations) to other private medical institutions so that they can be replicated.

Dr Devi Shetty, founder of Narayana Health City where the Center is located, said in the next ten years India will become the first country in the world to "dissociate healthcare from affluence".

"A country need not be rich to offer affordable healthcare, we have to look at different models to provide the best healthcare to each and every citizen of the country", he said.

CMD Biocon and founder of the Center, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said merely building a center was not important, "what is important is how do we leverage the talent that we are going to build in a center like this and meaningfully employ it in translational research, taking the benefits to the patients.

"We have to move from cancer care to cancer cure" and work on areas including diagnostics, gene therapy and vaccines. There is an urgent need to focus on innovation and cutting edge research", she said.

The 100,000 sq.ft facility located at the Mazumdar-Shaw Cancer Center brings together under one roof, most advanced therapy modalities required to manage cancer and complex diseases.

The new centre will include India`s largest bone marrow/stem cell transplant facility, advanced treatment facilities such as immunotherapy, gene therapy, biomodulators to target disease specific, in-vitro fertilization.

It is supported by major scientific institutes both from within the country and abroad such as GANIT labs, Strand Genomics, Cornell University, University of California at Irvine, its officials said.

PTI