KOCHI: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $1 million to the country’s first cancer technology incubator inaugurated at the Kerala Technology Innovation Zone (TIZ), Kalamassery, on Sunday.
The world’s largest private foundation has already given Rs 50 lakh for the new incubator titled ‘Biomedical Research, Innovation and Commercialisation in Cancer (BRIC), which is aimed at creating India-focused innovations and developments in the cancer care sector.
Cochin Cancer Research Centre (CCRC) Director Dr Moni Abraham Kuriakose told Express that $1
million is committed for a period of five years.
‘Tech to identify mouth cancer being developed’
Cochin Cancer Research Centre (CCRC) Director Dr Moni Abraham Kuriakose said while `50 lakh of the promised $1m was committed as the first tranche, any further disbursement of the money will be based on the progress made by BRIC in coming up with innovations in cancer care segment.
“We’re developing a homegrown technology for identifying mouth cancer at its very earliest stage using artificial intelligence. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is giving the money because it’s a socially impacting project,” said Dr Moni.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the wealthiest charity organisation, owns $50.7 billion in assets. Perhaps, this would be its first involvement in Kerala.
Dr Moni said BRIC has also tied up with the University of Illinois, Chicago for collaborative research and in robotics and cancer surgery.
“The University is mainly into artificial intelligence. They are working on multiple areas. One area they are working on is pathology. Right now, pathology is interpreted by a pathologist, and there is an inter-observer variability.
“Today I look at it and tomorrow I may miss something. It’s very much subjective. Whether a machine can help the doctor to improve that factor. That’s one area we are working with the University of Illinois,” Dr Moni said, adding that the US university will provide technical support to the cancer tech incubator at TIZ.
Another area of collaboration is in developing robotics. “It’s very difficult to get trained cancer surgeons. For other procedures, they’ve developed robotics,” he said. Biocon, another leading biotech company, has also come forward to support BRIC.
The Bengaluru-based company will set up a centralised core pathology laboratory in the cancer tech incubator, informed Dr Moni.