A National Symposium on Development and Nurturing of Emerging Interface between Medical Science and Biotechnology was held in Gauhati University on 2 September 2013. The seminar was inaugurated by Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare.
Major Points Discussed During the Seminar
• It was discussed that the development of hybrid animals and plants for producing better varieties for milk or meat production are the examples of utilization of genetic re-combinations for commercial purposes.
• During recent years translational research has emerged as an important area for healthcare in general and the biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industries in particular.
• Over the years, biotechnology has become much more refined since India is now able to operate at the gene level. In case of healthcare applications, science has now moved from genetics in which selected genes were targeted and studied to genomics in which the structure and function of the genes of a particular species can be studied simultaneously by using DNA chips.
• Molecular methods are proving to be very useful in diagnosis and tracking.
• The Union Government of India has supported it, thereby leading to rapid strides in biotechnology and medical products in India.
• The Government of India created a Department of Biotechnology two decades ago.
• Financial aid is being extended not only through Department of Biotechnology, but many other central agencies such as Department of Science and Technology (DST), Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Defence Research Development Organization (DRDO), Ministry of Environment & Forests and Indian Council of Medical Research under the Department of Health Research of Health Ministry.
• Ghulam Nabi Azad explained that the North-Eastern region faces peculiar problems because of its geography and long international borders with several countries which make human population vulnerable to transmission of many communicable diseases like influenza and vector borne diseases.
• Recent data from the ICMR’s National Cancer Registry Programme has been an eye opener showing a very high prevalence of mouth (hypopharynx) and upper gastrointestinal tract (oesophagus) cancer, which is several times higher when compared with other parts of India.
• The problem of clustering cancers is primarily seen in East Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Kamrup District of Assam.