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:
- The Laboratory of Cell Cycle Regulation and Molecular oncology is focusing on the molecular mechanisms involved in 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. This lab is mainly concentrating on research studies in cancers of head & Neck and uterine cervix. Our studies on the elucidation of the role of EGFR-NF?B/STAT3 signalling pathways in oral cancer progression revealed that the synergetic use of inhibitors for EGFR with inhibitors of NF?B or STAT3 is more effective than the EGFR inhibitors alone. Studies on expression profiles of miRNA resulted in the formulation of a miRNA signature for oral cancer and found that the ratio of miR196a/miR204 expression is a potential prognostic marker for oral cancer. In continuation, the functional role of two downregulated miRNAs, miR-144-3p and miR-1237-3p, have been elucidated and found that both have a significant tumor suppressive role in oral carcinoma and their potential targets have also been identified. In addition to studies on oral cancer, we have also formulated microRNA signatures for uterine cervical cancer in relation to HPV infection status. We also compared salivary metabolome of oral cancer and normal person and formulated salivary metabolomic signature for oral cancer and its validation is currently progressing.
Qualitative RT-PCR analysis of BCR-ABL and PML-RARa fusion trancripts in leukemia patients.
Quantitative RT-PCR analysis of BCR-ABL fusion trancripts in leukemia patients.
- The Laboratory of Molecular Medicine has been undertaking studies on the elucidation of cellular and molecular mechanisms in the development of cancer. Studies are ongoing and focused on developing primary cell lines of breast cancers and studying the effect of plant products in the development and progression of tumors. Multidisciplinary approaches are being employed including cell culture and molecular biology techniques in the development of primary cell lines from breast tumors, knockdown studies using siRNA and small molecule inhibitors, mutational and polymorphism studies and multidrug-resistant cancers. Extramural funded projects are ongoing, supported by ICMR, DBT, and KSCTSE, on the genetic and epidemiological factors involved in breast cancer and translational research on Triple Negative Breast Cancer. Post-doctoral studies funded by DBT under the Women Scientist scheme and KSCSTE under back to lab scheme are ongoing which analyzes the therapeutic potential of natural plant products. Studies on circulating DNA in breast and ovarian cancer patients, microbiome studies of colon and cervical cancer, and the significance of PDL1 expression in breast cancer is being also carried out part of clinical PG curriculam. This division permits students from various academic institutions at the MSc level to carry out dissertation and project work in disciplines involving biotechnology and molecular biology.
- The Laboratory of Cytogenetics and Molecular Diagnosis is mainly concentrating on cytogenetic and molecular studies in hematological malignancies. Primarily for the Identification of chromosomal and Molecular abnormalities and of risk groups in leukemias, 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 being carried out. Developed indigenous software for karyotyping in collaboration with the College of Engineering, Karunagappally. The ongoing projects are "Digitally connected tribal colonies: Validation of automated screening system for cervical and oral cancer using computerized image analysis and AI-Driven Large-scale Screening for Oral and Oropharyngeal Cancer (AIDOScan).
- The Laboratory of Biopharmaceuticals & Nanomedicine is mostly focusing on the theranostic applications of polysaccharides Nano constructs in cancer management. The gold, silver, iron, and copper nanoparticles capped with polysaccharides and conjugated to chemotherapeutic agents are deliberated for theranostic applications such as targeted drug delivery, tumor reduction, gene and drug carrier, cancer vaccine, photothermal therapy, antimicrobial properties, in vivo imaging, SERS and as a contrasting agent for MRI. Polysaccharide-coated silver nanoparticles (SNP@PSP) doped cream and scaffolds were found to have excellent in vitro and in vivo wound healing potential. Polysaccharide selenium nanoparticles loaded with chemotherapeutic Paclitaxel were found to be competent for oral and intravenous delivery of drugs to treat colon cancer. Studies on the delivery of siRNA and chemotherapeutic agents alone or in combination using polysaccharide-based gold nanoparticles so as to achieve a multi-targeted anticancer therapeutic effect are also being done in the laboratory. Studies on cellular imaging and image-guided surgery using polysaccharide-based quantum dots for precise detection of tumor margins are progressing. The development of a whole-cell cancer vaccine, which is the most cost-effective and reliable approach to a cancer vaccine, without using common immunomodulators or genetic manipulations is yet another area of research in the laboratory.
- The Laboratory of Immunopharmacology and Experimental Therapeuticsis devoted in the development of novel, targeted therapeutic agents for cancer drug delivery. The research work in this laboratory is focused on three research domains. The first domain works on inflammatory bowel disease and its relation with cancer progression. The second domain works on mitigation of radiation esophagitis using novel molecules with an objective to improve the quality of life of cancer patients receiving thoracic radiation. The third domain works novel drug delivery system and drug candidates for the management of cancer.
Human Resource Development
Ph.D. produced - 93
- Paper publications - 698
- Chapters in the books - 8
- Conferences attended - 994
- Conferences Organized - 23
- Awards - 95
- Patents - 5
- Number of projects undertaken- 142
- Ongoing Ph.D. students - 23
- Number of extramurally funded- 10
Extramural projects are undertaken by national and international funding agencies like DST, DBT, CSIR, ICMR, DHR, DRDO, DAE, AYUSH, KSCSTE, WHO, IARC, Inst. Cancer Research, UK, Dr. Gregory Schultz Institute of Wound Research, Florida, USA, etc.
MAJOR RESEARCH FACILITIES:
1. Flow cytometer-Cell Sorter
2. Genetic Analyzer
3. Automated Metaphase Finder
4. Multicolour Karyotype (SKY) Workstation
5. FISH workstation
6. High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC)
7. Gel Documentation System
8. FT-IR Spectrometer
9. Real-Time PCRs
10. Thermal Cyclers
11. Dynamic Light Scatter (DLS)
12. Electrospun Apparatus
14. Fluorescence Research Microscopes
15. Experion Capillary Electrophoresis System
16. In vitro cell culture Facility
17. Animal House Facility
Ph.D. and Post-Doctoral Fellowship programmes are funded by State and Union Government funding agencies. Ph.D. course conducted by RCC is affiliated mainly with the University of Kerala, Manipal University MG University, MS University, Bharathiyar University and KUHS. The scientific contributions of the faculty and the students have been proven by awards, paper presentations and publications. Other important academic activities of the division are conducting training programmes such as M.Sc/ MD/MDS dissertation works; short-term training for B.Sc, M.Sc, M Tech, B Tech and MLT students.
The last four decades of research work in the Division of Cancer Research has led to the implementation of four important diagnostic tests to patients:
- Qualitative RT-PCR for Fusion Transcripts
- Quantitative RT-PCR for Fusion Transcripts