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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Cancer Research at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre

Cancer Research is required to devise better methods of detecting and treating cancer and to improve cancer care. In years to come, increasing knowledge of cancer genetics at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre (SKMCH&RC) will have a significant improvement on its ability to predict an individual's level of risk of developing cancer, to detect and diagnose cancer early and to select treatments which are most likely to be effective. Ultimately, the genetic revolution may lead to ways of preventing cancer. The genetic revolution provides major opportunities for identifying people at risk of cancer and for developing better treatments. At the moment such studies are limited in a under-developed country like Pakistan.

Cancer Research practices at the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre are streamlined in three different directions:
  1. Epidemiology - Seeks to understand the lifestyle and environmental causes of cancer
  2. Molecular Biology - Enables development of better ways of predicting treatment responses and disease outcome
  3. Clinical Trials - Primarily focuses on the evaluation of existing and new therapies

Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital

SKMCH&RC's The Management Information Systems (MIS) Department has developed an efficient hospital information system, which enables the research team to handle the logistics of a large hospital, documenting a wealth of patient information. Aim of this cancer hospital is to explore the bridge between laboratory and clinic though the support of translational studies in areas of diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. It is important to maintain research concerned with cancer in local population, addressing issues of prevention through studies on the effects of genetic make-up, environment and lifestyle. The research section has been developed over the last five years. It has recently received a donation to refurbish the 3rd floor of the Hospital into a Research Wing, housing a suite of research laboratories, a data management and epidemiology division, as well as a clinical research section responsible for clinical trials.

Several projects are underway at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and the team of researchers is ever expanding. Basic Sciences Research is divided into three main areas of interest currently:
  1. Identification of genetic risk factors in the development of cancer
    • Prevalence and spectrum of BRCA1/2 germline mutations in Pakistani Breast and/or Ovarian Cancer families
    • A study to evaluate the association between germline genetic variation and disease risk and outcome in ovarian carcinoma in Pakistan
    • The role of p53 mutations in the development, progression and outcome of breast cancer in Pakistan
    • Genetic causes of colorectal cancer in the Pakistani population
  2. Tumor virology
    • Human Papillomavirus Associated with Esophageal Cancer in Pakistan - A Retrospective Analysis
    • Human Papillomavirus in Cervical Cancer cases from Pakistan
    • Transcriptional profiling of Hodgkin's Lymphoma; relationship to EBV status, histological subtype and geographical locale
  3. Infections and cancer
    • Quantitative PCR for detection & quantification of fungal infections in patients with AML, ALL and Myelodysplastic Syndrome
Cancer Research at SKM
Research at SKMCH&RC