THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Noted oncologist and founder director of Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) in Thiruvananthapuram Dr M Krishnan Nair passed away on Thursday. He was 81. He was known for establishing one of the largest comprehensive cancer treatment centres in the country and was credited with setting up the first paediatric oncology section in a hospital in the country. He followed it up by establishing a community and preventive oncology department in 1985. He also introduced Care for Life, a cancer insurance scheme to help people who cannot afford the treatment cost.
He had been the director of RCC from 1981 to 2003. He also had his share of controversies during the period. The drug trial on 26 patients at RCC in association with Johns Hopkins University in 2000 kicked up a row after it was found that it was done without regulatory approvals and adequate preliminary tests in animals. However, he was acquitted by an independent inquiry commission set up by the Central government.
The country honoured him with Padma Shri in 2001. Krishnan Nair was born to Madhavan Nair and Meenakshi Amma at Peroorkada in Thiruvananthapuram in 1939. He earned his MBBS from Thiruvananthapuram Medical College in 1963 and took MD (Radiotherapy and Clinical Oncology) from the University of Punjab in 1968.
In 1972, he completed FRCR (Clinical Oncology) from the Royal College of Radiologists in London. He was a member of the expert group that drew up the National Cancer Control Plan of India. He had served the World Health Organisation (WHO) for more than a decade on its Expert Advisory Panel on Cancer.
His mortal remains were cremated at Shanthikavadam at Thycuad here. He leaves behind wife Valsala. Their daughter Manju had died earlier.
Governor Arif Mohammed Khan condoled Dr Krishnan Nair’s death. “His service to oncology will be long remembered. Heartfelt condolences. May his soul attain mukti,” he said. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said Dr Krishnan Nair gave a major contribution in setting up RCC and gave a popular face to cancer research. His demise is a great loss for Kerala’s health sector, said the chief minister.