About the Speaker
Dr. Partha Pratim Majumder is the Director of the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, Kalyani (near Kolkata). He is also a Professor at the Indian Statistical Institute and the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research, Kolkata. He is an elected Fellow of all the three science academies of India. He has served on the Board of Directors of the International Genetic Epidemiology Society (IGES), and was the founding Chair of the ELSI Committee of IGES. He is a Member of the Human Genome Organisation. He is a recipient of many awards and medals, including the TWAS (The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World) Biology Prize – 2009, G.D. Birla Award for Scientific Research – 2002, Ranbaxy Research Award in Applied Medical Sciences – 2000, and the New Millennium Science Medal, Government of India, 2000.
Title of the Talk
"ENABLING PRECISION MEDICINE FOR CANCER TREATMENT".
Cancer is a disease of the genome. For any type of cancer – lung cancer, oral cancer, cervical cancer, etc. – only rarely does one encounter families in which multiple family members are affected with cancer. In other words, familial cancers are rare. Cancer is mostly sporadic. The hallmark of cancer is uncontrolled growth of cells. One of more DNA alterations in a normal cell leads to a growth advantage of the cell, which then grows uncontrollably and abnormally to form a set of cells, called a clone, which forms a tumour. These DNA alterations occur mostly after an individual is born, and are called somatic alterations. Many DNA alterations that are present at birth, called germline alterations, can also predispose an individual to cancer. Precision medicine is a phrase that is often used to describe how genetic information about a person’s disease is being used to diagnose or treat their disease. Understanding the genetic changes that are in cancer cells is leading to more effective treatment strategies that are tailored to the genetic profile of each patient’s cancer. In this talk, I shall provide some examples of how genomic information has already helped to shape the development and use of some of the newest cancer treatments. I shall also explain how recent research, including our own, is poised to foster development of more precise treatment strategies for cancer. Finally, I shall present some snippets from the history of cancer research and a peek into the future of precision medicine in relation to cancer.