Path-breaking genomics-based joint research by Government Institute (IBAB) and HCG

Bengaluru  – In what is claimed to be path-breaking research, the city-based government institute in collaboration with HCG, has identified 114 genetic variants which cause oral cancer in humans. The study has also revealed key genetic signatures that can predict survival in oral cancer patients with over 90% accuracy.

In the press conference held on The World Cancer Day (Friday) at Vidhana Soudha, Dr.C.N.Ashwatha Narayana, Minister for IT/BT and S&T said, the research was conducted jointly by IBAB (Institute of Bioinformatics and Applied Biotechnology)- an institute set up by Department of IT/BT, GoK- and research doctors from HCG, using the state of the art Genomics facility located at IBAB. Further, he said, the study made extensive use of Advanced Machine Learning and Bioinformatics.

“Though the oral cancer is one of the most common in the country (40% of all the cancer cases), this was the first time such an extensive had been carried out relating to this. The data obtained in the research has been compared with western genetics. The work has already been acknowledged by international bodies like the Royal College of Surgeons of England. The study report has also been published in a highly acclaimed medical journal,” he explained.

Saying, the analysis of mutations gave out a list of unique genes associated with 114 novel variants, of which 35 were oncogenes, 11 were tumor suppressors, and 2 DNA damage repair genes, he added, the research would guide towards cell-targeted personalized treatment.

The researchers have identified novel mutations in the IRAK1 gene, which would pave the way to provide target-directed treatment without affecting the healthy cells in the body.  In this regard, we intend to collaborate with pharma companies.  This is going to be an important contribution from Karnataka not only to the country but also to the entire world.  This will enable us to solve the mystery of cancer genetics and save more lives in coming years, he opined.

Dr. Vishal Rao, Dean, Centre for Academic Research, HCG Cancer Centre told, “This extensive research would not have been possible by private hospital alone without government’s cooperation. The GoK facilitated the clinicians and researchers to work on a common platform.”

Currently, even after the best treatment, oral cancer is found to recur in up 50% of cases. But the present research would make it possible to provide treatment in an effective way such that the disease does not recur and enables precise treatment with improved quality of life, Prof. Vibha Choudhary, IBAB, pointed out.

Dr. Anand Subhash, Head Neck Surgical Oncologist, HCG, Dr. Sateesh Kunigal, Genetic expert, HCG, Balasubramanyam, Consultant, Dr.Sagar, HCG, Dr.Krupalini, GM, Dept. of IT/BT were present.

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