Division of cancer research is mainly focusing on the delineation of the molecular mechanism of tumuorigenesis in cancers prevalent in our region. In addition to developing a better understanding of the molecular and cellular basis of disease, the division tries to translate the understanding into practical outcomes for patients. Both in house and collaborative research programmes are being carried out in collaboration with other major Institutions. Various routine investigations are established and being carried out in the division as part of patient diagnostic services. Six different research groups are currently working in this division:
Human Resource Development
- The Laboratory of Cell Cycle Regulation and Molecular oncology mainly emphases on interpreting the molecular mechanisms behind cancer development and progression as well as identifying molecular signatures capable of predicting disease prognosis in order to aid the personalized and the risk adjusted therapy for cancer. One such study focuses on the role of NFÎºB and STAT3 genes in most important hall marks of cancer such as cell proliferation and cell migration by using primary and metastatic oral cancer cell lines. As the continuation of previous studies, a new study has been initiated to validate the microRNA signature for oral carcinoma in established oral cancer cell lines to decipher the biological significance of the altered microRNAs. In addition to studies on oral cancer, a study to profile the microRNA expression pattern in uterine cervical cancer in relation to HPV infection status is also carrying out.
- The Laboratory of Molecular Cytopathology and Proteomics mainly focus on developing cost effective screening methods for cancers especially cervical and lung cancer. A semi- automated Pap smear screening system has been developed and the second phase of it for fully automating the same is on the way. Whole protein profiling of cervical epithelial cells and its malignant and premalignant counterpart and the significance of Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy is being evaluated. A robust technique for the laboratory processing of sputum sample has been developed and a panel of immunocytochemical markers has been validated for the differential diagnosis of lung adenocarcinoma in sputum samples. The role of Galectin-3 in EMT associated gene expression and stem cell regulation in triple negative breast cancer is being evaluated.
- The Laboratory of Molecular Medicine has been undertaking studies on the elucidation of cell signaling pathways in the development of breast cancer and the molecular mechanisms of multidrug resistance in ovarian cancer. Studies have been initiated on the genetic, clinical and epidemiological factors of breast cancer in Indian population. Studies are ongoing on the effects of natural products on tumor development and progression and metastasis. Multidisciplinary approaches are being employed including cell culture and molecular biology techniques in the development of primary cell lines from breast tumors, knock down studies using siRNA and small molecule inhibitors, mutational and polymorphism studies in lung and pediatric cancers, EBV infection in Hodgkinâ€™s disease and multidrug resistance in acute leukemia.
- The Laboratory of Cytogenetics and Molecular Diagnosis is mainly concentrating on cytogenetic and molecular studies in hematological malignancies. Primarily for the Identification of risk groups in leukemia, mechanism of drug resistance and identification of molecular prognostic markers for these cancers. Besides, cytogenetic and molecular studies in inhabitants of high natural background radiation areas of Karunagappally, Kerala are also carrying out. Also collaborative studies are initiated for the development of indigenous software for karyotyping.
- The Laboratory of Biopharmaceuticals & Nanomedicine mainly focusing on New Drug Discovery, Novel Drug Delivery Systems and innovative cost effective technology creation. The basic research programme at the laboratory has resulted in some exciting nanoconjugates based on plant polysaccharides. Different nanoparticles and scaffolds were prepared and being evaluated for their potential as theranostic agents. Iron and silver conjugated metallic nanoconjugates were shown to be promising substrates for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) respectively. Drug conjugated nanoparticles and scaffolds were demonstrated to be as potential drug delivery systems.
- The Laboratory of Immunopharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics is focused on investigating the mechanisms that modulate the immunological milieu in different tissue microenvironment particularly in tumours. The laboratory is devoted in the development of novel, targeted therapeutic agents that could inhibit the cascade of events leading to tumour cell invasion and metastasis. The laboratory also involves to develop therapeutic agents that can mitigate the toxic effect of radiation especially oesophagitis, mucositis and pulmonitis or lung injury (RILI).
Division also focused on human resource development by conducting training programmes like doctoral course leading to PhD, MSc/ MD/MDS dissertation works; short-term training for BSc, MSc, BTech and BSc (MLT) students. At a given time 25-30 doctoral fellows, 3-5 postdoctoral fellows and 25-30 short-term PG dissertation students are undergoing training in the division.
PhD Degree Awarded â€“ 79,
Post Graduate project training â€“ 632,
Short term training â€“ 690,
Research Publications - 570,
Conferences attended/ abstracts published â€“ 757
Conferences Organised â€“ 13,
National Awards â€“ 52
Extra mural projects are undertaken from national and international funding agencies like DST, DBT, CSIR, ICMR, DRDO, DAE, AYUSH, KSCSTE, WHO, IARC, HRF Japan, Inst. Cancer Research, UK, Dr. Gregory Schultz Institute of wound Research, Florida, USA, etc.
Number of projects undertaken â€“ 115
- Post-Doctoral fellowship programmes
- PhD programmes (affiliated to University of Kerala, Mahatma Gandhi University, MS University, Manipal University and Bharathiyar University)
- Post Graduate Project training â€“ Three/six months programme twice in a year
- MD/MDS Dissertation programme
- Training for BSc MLT Students
- Extramurally funded projects
Post-Doctoral fellowship programmes are funded by State and Union Government funding agencies. The scientific contributions of the faculty and the students have been proved by awards, paper presentations and publications.
Last thirty years of research work in the division of cancer research leads to the implementation of four important diagnostic tests to the patients:
- Flow Cytometry
- RT-PCR and Q-RT PCR for fusion gene transcripts