The Advanced Centre for Treatment, Research and Education in Cancer (ACTREC) is the state of art of R&D wing of the Tata Memorial Centre. It is located in the picturesque settings at the foothills of the Sahyadri mountains in Kharghar, Navi Mumbai. ACTREC comprises of, the Cancer Research Institute (CRI), Clinical Research Centre (CRC) and Centre for Cancer Epidemiology (CCE), a setting that is unique in India and built and evolved with a vision to provide comprehensive cancer care to one and all, through its motto of excellence in services, education and research.
The three centers have specific agendas, focus and unique capabilities. They work independently and in collaboration towards a common goal i.e., to advance research on all aspects of cancer, improve diagnosis, predict prognosis and treatment outcome of cancer patients, prolong their survival and ultimately cure cancer!
CRI: Scientists in CRI undertake multi-pronged investigations into cancer biology, which address basic and translational research queries using human tumors, experimental animals and cells in culture, with an aim to provide the tools for chemoprevention, early diagnosis, prognosis and therapy. Commensurate with these goals the research projects at CRI encompass the following thematic – Biomolecular Structure, Function and alteration; Cell and Tumor Biology; Carcinogenesis, Genome Biology and Precision Medicine; Therapy Resistance and Stem Cell Biology; Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy; Cancer Theranostics and Clinical Pharmacology.
CRC: CRC and Hospital are integral, vital constituents of ACTREC that are making considerable headway into clinical research while focusing on advanced modes of cancer therapy. In keeping with the overall mandate of the ACTREC, the CRC is focusing initially on pediatric cancers, brain tumours, head and neck cancer, cervical cancer, breast cancer, cancer genetics and technology evaluation.
CCE: The Centre for Cancer Epidemiology is commissioned with a focus to assess and evaluate the cancer burden in the country.
Funding: The clinicians, clinician scientists and basic scientists of the Centre are engaged in a large number of clinical trials and audits, as well as institutional, intramural and extramural projects. The trials involve collaborations between the Centre and industry particularly the Pharma sector. Funding support for most projects come from either the Centre itself or from governmental funding agencies such as DST, DBT, ICMR, etc. While some of the studies are stand alone, the vast majorities are collaborative projects involving close interaction between scientists and/or clinicians within and outside the Centre; some are multicentric international projects
Education: ACTREC continues its emphasis and focus on its academic programs, prime amongst which is the Doctoral program. The Ph.D. programs under Life Sciences and Health Sciences are affiliated to the Homi Bhabha National Institute – a deemed university recognized by the University Grants Commission.
CRC has an important mandate of development of a structured post-doctoral educational programme in every clinical discipline of oncology. This includes Medical and Paediatric Oncology, Cancer Genetics, Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant, Neuro-Oncology, Radiation Biology, High Precision Radiotherapy, Brachytherapy, Paediatric Surgical Oncology, and Clinical Research Methodology. The Homi Bhabha National Institute (a deemed university) is a first step in that direction, which would enable the education programme to take root successfully.
Future: Several new projects are on the verge of completion within ACTREC. These will transform ACTREC in the near future into a very large and niche cancer hospital with about 900 beds. The projects are technologically and thematically complex including a Proton Beam Therapy Centre, a Centre to treat children’s and hematological cancers, a Centre to treat solid tumors and an advanced centre for nuclear medicine.