Indian Institute of Technology Ropar and Indian Institute of Technology Mandi have joined hands with the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, to come up with better treatment options for cancer. Both the young IITs have highly experienced faculty members and good research programmes in biomedical life sciences.
The institutes have started an initiative named Bio-X consortium to provide viable solutions to medical challenges with the help of clinical expertise provided by PGIMER. Bio-X was the idea of SK Das, Director of IIT Ropar and Prof TA Gonsalves, Director of IIT Mandi. The initiative has garnered funds, including the contribution of Rs.1 crore from both the IITs to kick start seven to eight projects.
After various discussions with faculty members, the two directors came to the conclusion that there was a need to involve clinical experts in order to give the research the right direction and meet the goals of the consortium. Meetings with the Director of PGIMER were also held to strengthen the collaboration.
Dr. Tulika Srivastava, from IIT Mandi informed that 10% of the total cost of the project will be provided by the two IITs. She also informed that the faculty members have been asked to start collaborative projects with three institutions including PGIMER.
Research is being conducted in the fields of biomedical instrumentation that are used for diagnostic, monitoring and control equipment, imaging and diagnostics, biomechanics – to study the movement or structure of organisms, biomedical nanotechnology, low-cost MRI, laser therapy and cancer therapy. Apart from the faculty of the three institutes, postgraduate students and research scholars will also participate in these research programmes.
Bio-X consortium is the first initiative that has brought two IITs together to provide solutions for disease prevention and affordable health care facilities in India. The institutes involved remain in constant touch via video conferencing to achieve their goals. Seed grants of Rs.48 lakh have also been gathered by the institutes for the development of a low cost low magnetic field MRI and other such projects. More funding will be gathered by the team to facilitate the research and proceed smoothly.
Dr. Chirag Kamal Ahuja, Assistant Professor, Radio Diagnosis and Imaging, PGIMER informed that the hospital lacks proper medical image analysis facilities that are essential for the diagnosis of diseases. The tools required for this purpose are quite expensive and difficult to acquire therefore the hospitals are unable to afford them. Dr. Ahuja also said that Bio-X consortium can help them in installing instruments built in-house, which will cost them less and at the same time will help them in providing proper diagnosis facilities.
With Punjab being the Indian state with maximum cancer patients, initiatives such as Bio-X consortium, started by the two IITs with PGIMER can help in improving the healthcare facilities in the state and provide affordable medical solutions for patients.