CHENNAI: The sponsor of an international cancer research conference hosted by IIT-Madras has sought to distance itself from the event after the New Indian Express reported that Baba Ramdev had been invited as the chief guest.
MD Anderson Cancer Center, a Texas-based research and treatment facility, has demanded that its name and logo be removed from promotional material of the 7th International Translational Cancer Research Conference, themed ‘Cancer prevention and treatment: From Ancient Medicine to Modern Medicine’, which was to be hosted by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras on February 8, 2018.
The official Twitter handle of MD Anderson Cancer Centre, which had sponsored the conference in 2016, said in response to a tweet by Ivan Oransky, co-founder, RetractionWatch, that it is not associated with the conference and that its name and logo had been used without permission.
Ivan Oransky had posted a New Indian Express article, which mentioned Baba Ramdev's assocation with the conference, on Twitter and tagged MD Anderson Cancer Centre, commenting that the cancer conference at IIT raised a lot of red flags.
“In the past, MD Anderson has sponsored this conference through its Global Academic Program. But this year, we’re not a sponsor. Our name and logo are being used without permission, and we’ve requested they be removed from promotional materials.”
Faculty involved in the event are doing so on their personal time. (2/2)— MD Anderson Cancer Center (@MDAndersonNews) 4 February 2018
An MD Anderson spokeswoman said two MD Anderson faculty members — Varsha Gandhi and Sen Pathak —listed as the organisers of the event, were involved in the event on ‘their personal time’.
In November 2017, Baba Ramdev had said he agreed with Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma who was vehemently criticised for saying that cancer was the result of sins committed in one’s past life.
Ramdev had said: “Everything is related to karma, our birth and death are related to karma. Several reasons cause diseases and one among them is karma."
Ramdev has also courted controversy over his claims that he had cured over 1,000 cancer and HIV patients through the practice of yoga and the concoctions marketed by his pharmacy, Patanjali.
Ramdev is scheduled to address the cancer conference at IIT for 45 minutes on Thursday, its opening day.