From the Directors Desk

Dr. Shalini Singh

Director’s Desk

Greetings and Welcome…!

ICMR-National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research – a permanent institute under the aegis of the Indian Council of Medical Research, Department of Health Research, is the country’s premier institution for carrying out research in the field of cancer prevention. The institute has made significant strides in developing and validating innovative and improved strategies for cervical, oral, and breast cancer screening in the country. The Scientists are also working on other common cancers including gall bladder, head and neck, esophageal, and ovarian in collaboration. The institute regularly undertakes several programs for training the faculty, research scholars and students from across the length and breadth of the country, and in equipping them for carrying out screening of highly prevalent cancers, molecular research methods relevant to cancer biology, cancer epidemiology and tobacco control.

The Health Promotion Clinic spreads awareness regarding the risk factors of cancer and non-communicable diseases, provides services for early detection and screening both within our premises and in the Gautam Budh Nagar district. Tobacco cessation counselling is another important feature of our Health Promotion Clinic where behavioral and non-behavioral interventions are carried out to assist individuals to quit tobacco use. This report highlights the significant contributions made in research, and other institutional and non-institutional activities undertaken by the institute during this period.

Post the deadly COVID-19 pandemic, our institute is a part of the multi-centric study to characterize the humoral and cellular immune response in individuals receiving an additional third dose of Covishield/Covaxin vaccine. Besides, the institute is also participating in carrying out district level prevalence survey for Pulmonary Tuberculosis which shall contribute to the national data and providing innovative ideas to the health system functionaries for accelerating elimination of Tuberculosis in a district of Delhi with high case load.

The WHO FCTC Knowledge Hub on Smokeless Tobacco (WHO FCTC KH-SLT) has initiated an online lecture series “ToCoIndiaToCo” to showcase best practices in tobacco control for policy discourse. A report on the environmental waste generated from packaging of Smokeless Tobacco products was disseminated to the States for taking action. Results from Tobacco cessation amongst women including pregnant and lactating women have encouraging results which shall be useful for inclusion in the National programmes.

The National Tobacco Testing Laboratory (NTTL) is the designated Apex Lab and is providing services to different States and is now a member of the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Laboratory Network (TobLabNet).

The NICPR-ECHO training courses are continuing efficiently to train in-service healthcare providers in cancer screening. A training course for Pathologists in Cervical Cancer Screening through virtual platform and live microscopy is very popular and effective in capacity building of pathologists, especially in remote areas.

Molecular studies are also being actively undertaken to unravel the genetic and epigenetic signatures for different cancers including gastric and ovarian cancer. Results of a study carried out on screening for cervical and anal cancer through cytology and HPV testing undertaken in high -risk population (women living with HIV) has important policy implications.

The Model Rural Health Research Unit (MRHRU) at Panipat is working in collaboration with Kalpana Chawla Medical College, Karnal for understanding Aspergillus infection among the local population. Another MRHRU is being established in Gautam Budh Nagar in collaboration with Government Institute Medical College, Greater Noida to provide solutions to the local medical problems.

On the academic front, the scientists have published several high-quality research articles in peer reviewed high impact factor journals. Journal clubs, Colloquia, guest lectures and webinars are regularly held to keep abreast with the latest developments in the field of science.

Research infrastructure has been upgraded with the commissioning of moderate throughput NGS facility and other high-end equipment including digital PCR, multimode reader, high precision Nanodrop, Hybrid Capture 2 (for HPV DNA diagnostics) which have also been installed and operationalized. Several other instruments are also being purchased to augment research output.

ICMR-NICPR’s contributions both in research and capacity building have been significant during this period. The constant guidance of the NCD division at ICMR Headquarters and Department of Health Research for all our activities deserves a special mention. The harmony between the scientific, technical and administrative staff of the institute has made it possible to carry out diverse activities in the most efficient manner.

With best wishes for a fruitful 2024.

Dr. Shalini Singh