The MoU was signed by Prof. Abhimanyu Kumar, Director- AIIA and Prof. Ravi Mehrotra, Director- NICPR in the presence of Ajit M. Sharan, Secretary, Ministry of AYUSH, and Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Secretary, Department of Health Research (Ministry of Health & Family Welfare) & Director General, Indian Council for Medical Research. This MoU would pave the way to carry forward the ongoing bilateral dialogue and facilitate collaboration with National Cancer Institute, USA.
Setting up of this Centre is an outcome of the deliberations held in Indo-US Workshop where in the invited US delegates from Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Institute of Health (NIH), National Cancer Institute (NIH) deliberated with the eminent experts from India having expertise in Cancer research and other promising areas for two days to share experiences and work out a road map for future collaborations.
Dr. Swaminathan while appreciating the initiative observed that the main aim should be to reduce the incidence of cancer for which preventive aspects with the strengths of AYUSH systems should be explored. She viewed that the collaborative research should aim at developing traditional medicine as adjuvant therapy to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy. She emphasized on collaborative studies both short term and long term involving institutions of repute at national and international level.
Sharan appreciated the efforts and assured that funding would not be a constraint in carrying out the activities under the MoU. He outlined the five major action points as follows:-
• Awarding 10 new research fellowships every year – The process for the first batch will be completed by March, 2017.
• Minimum of five collaborative research projects will be supported in the financial year 2016-2017.
• Ministry would also develop few Centres of Excellence for cancer research and has identified the AIIA and the Rajaram Deo Anadilal Poddar Ayurveda Cancer Research Institute, Mumbai, a unit of Centre Council for Research in Ayurveda Sciences (CCRAS). This would be done by March, 2017.
• A Steering Committee and Scientific Advisory committee would be jointly constituted by the Ministry of AYUSH and the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & F.W by Dec, 2016
• International Conferences would be organised annually.
On this significant occasion, a Web portal on ‘Network for AYUSH Cancer Care (NFACC)’ developed by the AIIA was also launched by Secretary, AYUSH. The portal would help to collect the national data of experts, scientists, practitioners, institutes, universities located across the country and engaged in cancer care & research. An online App of NFACC has also been developed. This app will be available on the website of various AYUSH institutions which will provide a hyperlink to the main Portal. In future, this portal will have collection of research papers related to Cancer care, information about the facilities available for Cancer care through AYUSH systems.