The Cochin Cancer Research Centre (CCRC) will mentor a cancer-focussed incubator in the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) that will help in early cancer detection and diagnosis, cancer care delivery, and immunotherapy in the primary phase of the project.
Named Biomedical Research, Innovation and Commercialisation in Cancer (BRIC), it will bring together oncologists and technologists to evolve solutions in cancer care.
CCRC director Moni Abraham Kuriakose told The Hindu that delayed diagnosis was the cause of the high mortality rate among cancer patients. Only 4-5% cases were detected early in the three most prevalent cancers in the country – head and neck, breast, and cervical.
Starting with early detection tools using artificial intelligence and other technologies, BRIC will act as an incubator for various interlinking units such as biotechnology, biomedical, fin-tech (financing cancer treatment or research) and so on. This will be done in partnership with cancer centres of the National Cancer Grid and the Kerala Cancer Care Grid, industry leaders, and commercialisation experts.
The grids are a network of cancer care and research centres.
So far eight Indian and three U.S. start-ups have evinced interest in getting incubated here, said Jith Thomas, Senior Fellow, Kerala Startup Mission, who will be managing the operations under Health and Medical Technologies. The collaborative programme will get under way in another couple of months.
The challenge in cancer care lies in moving towards another paradigm of early detection that will bring down the mortality rate, which is estimated to be as high as over 75%, said Mr. Thomas.
Cancer care cost is high in India, even though it constitutes only 20% of the cost incurred in developed countries. However, with new advances in cancer care technologies, most of which is happening in the West, the cost is likely to increase by five times that of the current cost.
BRIC aims to reduce the technology gap in cancer care.
The Kerala Technology Innovation Zone, Kinfra Hi-Tech Part, Kalamassery, is the proposed location of the incubator.
An area of 7,345 sq ft has been planned for the incubator that will function in two zones, one for administration and incubation space and the other for research and development laboratories.