National Institute of Cancer prevention and research (NICPR) was initially established as Cytology Research Centre (CRC) by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in 1979, and was elevated to the level of an Institute in 1989. It was granted national status in 2016 acknowledging its mandate and contributions towards cancer prevention. The institute has broadened its horizon to cater to prevention of prevalent cancers in the country. The thrust areas of research include pre-cancer and cancers of the uterine cervix, breast and oral cancers. NICPR has since made significant contributions in the field of cervical cancer research. The concept of clinical downstaging, visual inspection of cervix with selective cytology screening and development of novel diagnostic approaches for HPV and other oncogenes have been introduced for screening and early detection of cervical cancer.
Transcriptional control of viral gene expression, preparatory work on India specific HPV vaccine and analysis of breast cancer susceptibility genes are some of the major research areas being undertaken at NICPR. The Institute provides diagnostic services related to cervical cancer screening by Pap smears, detection of high-risk HPV types by HC 2 method, colposcopy directed biopsies in screen-detected positive cases of cervical pre-cancer and cancerous lesions and also fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) and effusion cytology to the patients referred from various Institutions and hospitals across Noida and Delhi viz. District Hospital, AYUSH, ESI, National Institute of Homeopathy, CGHS dispensaries across Noida and Lok Nayak Hospital of Delhi. The Institute has been organizing community outreach activities including cancer awareness and screening camps in various areas of Gautam Budh Nagar, U.P. We are actively involved with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in the organization of cervical cancer awareness/screening camps at India International Trade Fair, Pragati Maidan as an annual event. The Institute runs a Health Promotion Clinic (HPC) which functions from Monday to Friday. An Oncology clinic on Monday and Breast Cancer Clinic on Friday is regularly held where patients are evaluated by a team of doctors from AIIMS and are given preferential treatment at AIIMS.
NICPR has been instrumental in the formulation of “Operational framework document” for cancer screening and management, recently released by MOHFW, which has been designed to carry out population based screening in 100 districts of India using cost-effective screening tools.
In addition, NICPR has signed MOU with following premiere Institutes:
- BR Ambedkar Institute of Rotary Cancer Hospital (BRAIRCH) & NCI, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India to carry out high quality medical research to evolve innovative solutions to the existing problems of the prevalent and emergent cancers in the country.
- AIPH, Odisha & All India Institute of Medical Sciences, N. Delhi, to conduct collaborative community basic research in the field of cancer prevention.
- Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre (RGCI &RC), New Delhi, for conducting collaborative research projects in the field of cancer.
- All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA), Ministry of Ayush, Govt. of India. Under this agreement a Center of integrative Oncology has been set up at NICPR which will integrate the disciplines of modern medicine and traditional Indian medicine systems for collaborative research projects and act as clearing house of information.
The Institute has research collaborations with various ICMR institutes as well. The Institute also has affiliation with different universities for Ph.D. programme, including, Delhi University, Banaras Hindu University and Jamia Millia Islamia. The institute has elaborate pan-India collaborations including, National Aids Research Institute, Pune and National Institute of Epidemiology, Chennai. NICPR promotes human resource development through in-service training workshops, summer training programs, MSc. project dissertation and Ph.D. programmes. The training is imparted in the field of Molecular Genetics, Molecular Oncology, Cytopathology, Cancer Screening, Bioinformatics, Data management and Biostatistics/ Epidemiology.
NICPR has developed a simple and economical visual device with a light source (AV Magnivisualizer) for easy and better visualization of the uterine cervix as well as the oral cavity. The device is easy to use, portable and battery operated and can be used in community screening programs. The device has been launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the technology has been transferred by ICMR to private company for its commercialization.
NICPR is the Cancer Prevention HUB for Project ECHO (Extension for community Healthcare Outcomes). This entails incorporating cancer screening programs using the ECHO model for capacity building and access to specialty care for rural and underserved populations through telementoring.
To provide comprehensive information on prevalent cancers in our country, Institute has developed an India specific cancer portal “India Battles Cancer” for general public. (http://www.cancerindia.org.in).
In addition to the involvement of the Institute with various activities, the institute figures in a number of prestigious national and international scientific committees.
NICPR has been designated as a WHO-FCTC Global Knowledge Hub for Prevention and Control of Smokeless Tobacco Products. The FCTC Hub shall provide a global comprehensive data base and retrieval hub for SLT products surveillance. It shall provide information on product-specific SLT burden, research needs and strategies concerning SLT regulation, educate public on risks associated with SLT use and assist in cessation and treatment.