The North East Region (NER) faces a chronic disability to diagnose and combat the high prevalence of diseases like HIV, AIDS, TB and Cancer through advanced biotechnology based methods. In 2009, the Department initiated efforts to create state-of-the-art infrastructure in 21 labs of 11 Medical Colleges under a project “Infrastructure Development in Medical colleges in NER”.
The focus has been to upgrade infrastructure in departments which are providing medical services/patient care along with the Human Resource Development and research questions. The areas under focus have been: Cancer, Haemoglobinopathies, Tuberculosis and HIV.
The departments involved are: Pathology, Biochemistry; Anatomy; Microbiology, Forensic, biotechnology and Pharmacology. The labs are spread over the states of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura, covering 4 out of the 8 states in the NER. The colleges involved are:
The projects are annually assessed by monitoring committees on the four basic parameters of:
A comprehensive Facility for Diagnosis and Management of Genetic Disorders has been set-up at the Department of Anatomy, Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh, Assam with five units i.e. Cytogenetics Unit; Molecular Genetics Unit; Biochemical Genetics Unit; Clinical Evaluation and Genetic Counseling Unit and a Bio-Bank. The lab became functional on 4th December, 2013.
This unique fellowship program for the MD/MS students in NER was initiated in 2011. The schemes envisage fellowship of Rs. 1.30 Lakhs for each MD/MS student for upto 100 students:
Enhance the quality of the MD/MS Thesis; motivate biotechnological application in MD research; increasing collaboration among biotechnologist & medical professionals; and Publication of findings in conference/journal
Till December 2013, seventy seven MD/MS Theses have been supported in three rounds and 63 new applications under 4th round received.
The workshops with the objectives of imparting knowledge of research methodology and research questions for the researchers and mentors to encourage development of research concepts and protocols have been conducted. Three such workshops were held by INCLEN Trust at the Gauhati Medical College & Hospital, Guwahati; Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal and Agartala Govt Medical College, Tripura.
Short term training on recent techniques in infectious disease diagnosis for Mid-Career scientists of NER has been conducted at the Clinical Microbiology Division, Dept. of Lab Medicine, AIIMS, New Delhi.
It is planned to do phase-wise development of medical research in the state of Jammu & Kashmir by establishment of Centre for Cell and Molecular Biology as Inter-institutional programme; Infrastructure Programme for Medical Colleges; Establishment of Diagnostic Laboratory; Interdepartmental R&D Centre focusing Pathology, Pharmacy, Microbiology, Physiology and other relevant areas; and training programme for physician scientists.
The priority areas are the life style related diseases that are most prevalent in the state i.e. Cancer, Cardio-myopathy, diabetes, renal disorders etc. Genetic Diagnostics and Counselling Units including translational genomics is also a priority.
Towards these priorities, DBT is establishing a Cancer Immunology Centre in Kashmir at Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Srinagar with two units aiming at patient services and research.
These units are: Cancer Immunology Unit & Cytogenetics/ Molecular Genetics Unit. The objectives are to do immune-phenotyping for acute and chronic Leukemias using flowcytometry; and immunophenotyping of solid tumours using immunohistochemistry. They would create prevalence & incidence data of major cancer in the region using molecular profiling and create bio-bank for future use of samples collected.