BENGALURU: Despite recent advancements in the treatment of cancer, with the advent of better surgical expertise, radiotherapy techniques and chemotherapy regimes over the past few years, the outcome and survival rate of most advanced cancer patients has improved only marginally.
Many major drugs see an initial response but the non-responsive rates vary between 30 per cent and 70 per cent. This was discussed at a two-day Genomics India Conference 2019 that kicked off here on Thursday. The event involved presentation of indigenous products that address local needs in various fields, and talks on genomics for agriculture, diagnostics, startups, and biotech education.
During his presentation at the conference, surgical oncologist Dr B S Ajaikumar, chairman, HCG Hospitals, said, “Precision medicine in cancer, driven by developing population-specific data, has become an area of great interest to redefine our understanding of cancer progression and treatment response.” While 42 per cent of all drugs in development are personalised medicines, 73 per cent of cancer drugs in development are personalised medicines.
The integration of Digital Pathology for an expert opinion on the biology of the tumour with Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) of the cancer genome is an example, he said. Radiogenomics is playing a significant role in understanding genetic variation associated with response to radiation, he added.
“Since the publication of human genome project in 2000, integration of many cost-effective diagnostic platforms, there has been a significant increase in our understanding of the biology of each cancer, making the disease highly treatable,” Ajaikumar said.
“Cancer is no more a deadly disease but considered a chronic lifestyle disease, if the cure is done the right way the first time,” he added.
Exploring the teak genome
Although teak is native to India, Myanmar and Thailand, it is currently grown in over 100 countries because of its demand in the international market. “However, its natural populations, including old plantations of teak in India, are facing climate change effects. Hence, infusion of genetically divergent material for large scale cultivation and conservation of teak genetic resources have become priority,” said Dr R Yasodha, scientist, Division of Plant Biotechnology, Institute of Forest Genetics and Tree Breeding, Coimbatore. She was presenting a paper on exploring the teak genome and the efforts made so far.