From the Directors Desk

Dr. Shalini Singh

Director’s Desk

Greetings and Welcome…!
ICMR-National Institute of Cancer Prevention & Research (ICMR-NICPR) is the country’s premier Institute for carrying out research in the field of Cancer Prevention. The Institute has been recognized for the contributions made in developing and validating strategies for cervical cancer screening in the country as well as in training faculty, research scholars, and students for carrying out screening of prevalent cancers namely oral, breast, and uterine cervix.
The Institute has laid continued emphasis on primordial, primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention of various cancers. The Division of Cytopathology has been carrying out cytology-based screening/ early detection of prevalent cancers. Screening for cervical and anal cancer, through cytology and HPV testing, is being undertaken in high-risk population (women living with HIV) in an effort to guide policy decisions on screening in such individuals. Training programs focused on cytology-based cervical cancer screening through the virtual platform and live microscopy sessions have been initiated for capacity building of pathologists, especially in remote areas.
Last two years 2020-22 were marred with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Institute established a High Throughput Viral Diagnostic Laboratory which was inaugurated by the Honourable Prime Minister on 27th  July 2020 to support SARS-CoV2 RT PCR testing for Western UP and Delhi. We have tested more than 21 lakh samples till March 2022. The Institute also engaged in the National Sero-Surveillance that includes adult health workers and children in the districts of Gautam Budh Nagar, Amroha and Saharanpur and accomplished four rounds of Sero-Surveillance.  The Institute supported ICMR in the follow-up of recipients of COVID-19 vaccination in districts of Haryana. A mixed-method multicentric study on the Mental health and social stigma among healthcare personnel involved in the management of COVID-19 patients in India highlighted the various concerns of the healthcare providers. These results have important policy implications.
Despite the lockdown conditions, the Institute carried out the National survey for estimating the state wise prevalence of microbiologically confirmed Pulmonary Tuberculosis in India in the states of Uttar Pradesh and few clusters of Haryana. The work of the Population based Cancer Registry also continued during this period.
The WHO FCTC Knowledge Hub on Smokeless Tobacco housed at the Institute generates information, knowledge and provides training, regionally and globally on smokeless tobacco. During this period, several inter-departmental research projects on tobacco control were carried out and human resource development in tobacco control was promoted by organizing training programs and meetings for policy discourse in various global tobacco control best practices. The Hub played a key role in initiating the policy reform for instituting spitting ban across several states in India as public spitting with the use of smokeless tobacco can lead to an increase in the risk of transmission of infectious diseases such as COVID 19. Further, the Hub also supported the recent COTPA (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Amendment Bill, 2020 and provided detailed feedback for its amendment to the Union Government. Several publications in high impact journals were made. A feasibility study to integrate tobacco use screening and tobacco cessation services with routine antenatal care services has been initiated as a pilot study in district hospital of Gautam Budh Nagar.
All other flagship programmes of NICPR such as the activities of the National Tobacco Testing Laboratory, the NICPR-ECHO programme of training in-service healthcare providers for cancer screening have been continuing. A demonstration project has been initiated in Sikkim to roll out the self-sampling method of HPV testing which will provide insights on the feasibility in the public health system.
I am happy to announce that the Scientists of the Institute have been recognized for their hard work and expertise at various forums. A total of 43 papers have been published by the Scientists during 2020 -2021 with a cumulative Impact Factor of 143.02.
NICPR has contributed significantly both in research and capacity building during this period. The immense support of the Scientific, Technical, and administrative staff of the Institute has made it possible to carry out diverse activities. The support of the Division of NCD and ICMR Hqrs for all activities deserves a special mention.
I wish the entire Team a fruitful year ahead and success in all future endeavours.