ICMR to begin research to accelerate screening, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer at district level
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has invited expression of interest (EOI) from Indian scientists and researchers to accelerate screening, early diagnosis and treatment of cancer at the district level.
Last date for submission of EOI is October 30, 2023, short listing of EOIs is on November 30, 2023 and proposal development workshop is on December 20, 2023.
This is aimed to improve coverage and quality of cancer screening through the existing healthcare system using accepted and validated methods. It will engage non-specialist physicians and other health care workers within a supportive healthcare system for screening of cancer and pre-cancerous conditions. It will also ensure that all screen positive people are linked to facilities for early diagnosis and treatment.
This will also involve communities to encourage the target population to undergo screening early diagnosis and treatment.
Expected outcomes of the study are development of an optimized, effective, evidence-based implementation model for screening, early diagnosis and treatment which can be integrated into NP-NCD programme in feasible and scalable manner in real world settings, documentation of inputs required for the above implementation model including human resources, logistics and costs, a measure of effectiveness will be the proportion of cancers detected at early stage, or at precancerous/potentially malignant stage, measure the district-wide coverage and quality of implemented screening interventions and ideas on how to scale up the developed implementation model in entire state(s), considering contextual factors.
According to estimates from the Global Cancer Observatory, GLOBOCAN for the year 2020, there were 19.3 million new cancer cases worldwide, with India ranking third in incidence after China and the United States of America. Alarmingly, GLOBOCAN projections indicate that India is expected to witness a substantial 57.5 percent increase in cancer cases from 2020 to 2040. In alignment with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.4, which seeks to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases, including cancer, by one third through prevention and treatment. India launched the National Program for Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, and Stroke (NPCDCS) in 2010, later renamed NP-NCD in 2023.
This program has been instrumental in strengthening healthcare infrastructure, developing human resources, promoting health awareness, enabling early disease diagnosis, facilitating management, and ensuring timely referrals for common non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cancer.
Research has indicated that frontline health workers, such as Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs), have the potential to play a crucial role in promoting and conducting home-based cancer screening. Home screening has resulted in higher compliance rates because it offers the privacy and convenience necessary for individuals to participate actively in the screening process. In the case of cervical cancer, HPV sampling Health Worker assisted/self, etc has emerged as an empowering approach, allowing women to collect their own specimens in private, at their preferred time and location, thereby addressing several barriers to accessing cytology-based screening, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
According to the eligibility criteria, a one-page CV of the Principal Investigator (PI) and other key investigators from each identified area need to be provided which should include academic and professional qualifications, current position and affiliation, up to five most relevant previous research grants, up to five most relevant previous publications.
As per the review process, the proposal will be evaluated based on factors such as study design, feasibility, data management capabilities, prior experience, engagement with public health and potential for seamless integration.
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