Rajiv Gandhi Biotechnology Centre to get a BIC push
By Express News Service | Published: 29th September 2013 10:49 AM |
National Advisory Council chairperson Sonia Gandhi will launch the expansion of the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB) in the field of cancer treatments and communicable disease control, with the setting up of a massive new Bio-Innovation Centre (BIC).
Sonia will lay the foundation stone for the Rs 100-crore first phase of the BIC project at 12.30 p m on September 30, at RGCB’s sprawling new 20-acre campus at Akkulam here.
Dignitaries at the ceremony would include Union Minister for Science & Technology S Jaipal Reddy, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi, Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for Civil Aviation K C Venugopal,Minister of State for Labour & Employment Kodikkunnil Suresh, Minister for Health V S Sivakumar, Speaker G Karthikeyan and MLAs Ramesh Chennithala and M A Wahid.
The BIC, in its first phase, will be a knowledge centre and hub for the development of cancer vaccines and immunotherapeutics, molecular diagnostics, cancer biomarkers and nano drug delivery systems. Apart from R&D, the centre would also impart world-class education and training in biotechnology to science graduates and post-graduates.
A 1,50,000-sq ft building is proposed in BIC phase I which is expected to be commissioned by 2016. Once operational, it would house research laboratories, state-of-the-art instrumentation facilities and animal testing labs.Around 35 scientists and 20 technical support staff are expected to be employed at the new facility besides 200 students and researchers working on various projects.
Three laboratories engaged in R&D in nanobiotechnology, peptide antibiotics and molecular diagnostics would soon shift to a 50,000-sq ft transit campus at the KINFRA Video Park in Kazhakkoottam until they move into their permanent homeat the BIC.
RGCB director M Radhakrishna Pillai said the objective was to develop the BIC into a ‘Centre of Excellence’ in the areas of disease biology and molecular medicine. Cancer vaccines, immunology and biomarkers would be the core focus of the new centre. RGCB already has an interdisciplinary Programme of Excellence in Translational Research (PETR) in collaboration with the Regional Cancer Centre.“Vaccines are being explored worldwide as an alternative to existing cancer treatments such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy in view of their postulated target specificity and minimal side effects,” Pillai said.“This is an area with vast research potential where new discoveries can have revolutionary social and economic impacts,” he said.
The BIC would hugely expand RGCB’s current research in disease biology, especially cancer and communicable diseases such as TB, dengue and cholera. RGCB’s existing R&D activities cover a range of scientific fields including nano biosciences, drug delivery, peptide antibiotics, and neurosciences.