Co-ordinated activities in health research between European and Indian research teams just got a major fillip. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will soon begin research in the identified areas of cancer and neurodegenerative diseases with the European Union (EU). According to senior officials in the ICMR, the collaborative research between the ICMR and the EU is based on the discussions between the ICMR and the EU at a workshop held in February, 2010 in New Delhi. In the workshop, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases were identified as areas of mutual interest.
Officials said that both the ICMR and the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD), Brussels have mutually agreed to enhance opportunities for coordinated activities in health research between European and Indian research teams, wherein it is intended to encourage scientists and health providers in India and EU to work towards the goal for the improvement of health of the people. For collaborative research for the year 2010-11, the priority areas identified by the ICMR and the EU for research include creating clinical and molecular tools for experimental therapy of paediatric neurodegenerative disorders causing childhood dementia in Europe and India; and the epidemiology and aetiology of infection-related cancers.
The ICMR has invited applications from the Indian scientists affiliated with medical/health institutes in India for collaboration under the two specific programmes of neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Under the neurodegenerative diseases programme, project on a treatment-oriented research project of NCL disorders as a major cause of dementia in childhood has been selected for funding by European Union. Indian scientists can apply on a similar protocol.
The project is expected to contribute to the description of the natural course and the clinical spectrum, prevention, early detection and evaluation of innovative therapies of paediatric neurodegenerative diseases in Europe and India, which might take place through gene and or enzyme-based therapies, early detection and identification of high risk populations. Under the cancer programme, from EU side, one project on role of human papillomavirus infection and other co-factors in the aetiology of head and neck cancer in India and Europe has been selected for funding. Indian scientists can also apply on a similar protocol. The results of research in this area should contribute to prevention and early treatment of infection-related cancers in Europe and India, which is likely to be facilitated through vaccination, early detection and identification high-risk populations.