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TN govt to set up separate wing with LINAC Radiotherapy Equipment in six more govt hospitals to treat cancer patients

Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai
Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The health department in Tamil Nadu will soon establish separate wing with LINAC Radiotherapy Equipment (LRE) in six more government hospitals for successful treatment of cancer patients, said Dr. J. Radhakrishnan, principal health secretary of the state.

According to him, treatment with linear accelerator (LINAC) has become a necessity today and the government is planning to set up more such units in all major hospitals. Currently, there are cancer wings attached to major government hospitals where the facilities are provided. But those hospitals with cancer wings will soon get the equipment.  LINAC is the device most commonly used for external beam radiation treatments for patients with cancer. It is used to treat all parts/organs of the body.

Dr. Radhakrishnan was inaugurating a function arranged as part of the Indo-US workshop on 'Drug Re-purposing for improving Radiotherapy of Cancer’ at Sri Ramachandra University here.

But, there are several challenges and roadblocks in cancer care and one of them is finding cheaper and effective drugs. Research has to be carried out on repositioning of an approved drug of a particular indication and whether it can be used for another disease or to treat cancer, he added.

While delivering the keynote address, Dr.Vikram Bhadrasain from the National Cancer Institute in USA, said radiotherapy has been very effective in curing some types of cancer.  Many drugs used for different diseases can be successfully tried to cure various types of cancer.  Some drugs, which are not active while administering alone, can be used in combination with radiotherapy for useful treatment. The key is to match these drugs with radiotherapy with bioinformatics in which India is a world leader.

Regarding the views of pharma companies, Dr. Vikram said big drug companies worldwide are not interested in repositioning drugs for cancer treatment as they do not want to completely eliminate this disease from the earth. But it is the duty of the medical professionals to find out the scope for repurposing of drugs for this deadly disease. He pointed out that India could play an important role in developing cheep and effective drugs for more types of cancer along with researches in the repurposing.

Dr.S.P.Thyagarajan, Dean, Research at the university, said drug repurposing or drug repositioning is the use of existing drugs of one disease for treating another.  Complex and intriguing nature of the biology of cancer, limited successful therapeutic options, prohibitive costs of new drug discovery and decline in the number of regulatory approved drugs over the years has encouraged researchers to take drug re-purposing approach in cancer care.  Further boost was given by the success of many non-cancer drugs as anti-cancer therapeutics like ‘Pixantrone’ he said.

Dr Mansoor Ahmed, Programme Director at the Radiation Research at the National Cancer Institute in US and Prof. Sunil Krishnan of Radiation Oncology department of  Anderson University Cancer Center in Houston, Dr.P.V.Vijayaraghavan, Vice Chancellor of SRU, Dr.B.S.Dwarakanath, visiting professor, and Dr.Satish Srinivas, Associate Professor, Radiation Oncology at SRU were among those who participated in the event.


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