A premier national cancer institute under the ICMR and All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) have joined hands to set up a 'Center of Integrative Oncology' for collaborating in areas of cancer prevention, research and care.
An MoU in this regard was signed by the National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research (NICPR), Noida and AIIA, an autonomous institute under the Ministry of AYUSH in the presence of Soumya Swaminathan, Secretary, Department of Health Research, Union Health Ministry & Director General, Indian Council for Medical Research and other top officials.
"The association will allow validation of claims made in the Ayurveda and other domains of Ayush, both at laboratory and clinical levels, as to the efficacy of this traditional school of medicine," Swaminathan said.
The ICMR Director General also said the main aim of this tie-up should be to reduce the incidence of cancer, for which preventive aspects with the strengths of AYUSH systems should be explored.
"The collaborative research should aim at developing traditional medicine as adjuvant therapy to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.
Adjuvant therapy for cancer usually refers to surgery followed by chemotherapy or radiotherapy to help decrease the risk of the cancer recurring.
She also emphasised on collaborative studies, both short-term and long-term, involving institutions of repute at national and international levels.
Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH, Ajit M Sharan assured that funding would not be a constraint in carrying out the activities under the MoU.
He also outlined the major action points of the ministry, saying, "10 new research fellowships would be awarded every year. The process for the first batch will be completed by March, 2017."
"Minimum of five collaborative research projects will be supported in the financial year 2016-2017. The Ayush Ministry would also develop few centres of excellence for cancer research and has identified the AIIA and the Rajaram Deo Anadilal Poddar Ayurveda Cancer Research Institute, Mumbai, a unit of Centre Council for Research in Ayurveda Sciences (CCRAS). This would be done by March, 2017," he said.
A steering committee and scientific advisory committee would be jointly constituted by the Ministry of AYUSH and the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare by December, he said.
International conferences would also be organised annually, he added.
The centre is an outcome of the deliberations held in Indo-US Workshop (in March) and, the MoU would pave the way to carry forward the ongoing bilateral dialogue and facilitate collaboration with National Cancer Institute in the US, officials said.
A portal on 'Network for AYUSH Cancer Care (NFACC)' developed by the AIIA was also launched.
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