Moving beyond fostering academic and business relations, Cambridge University will now work with India to develop new drugs for treating cancer and other diseases in a manner different from traditional methods.
In an interview with HT Cambridge University vice chancellor Professor Leszek Borysiewicz said: "In a single human cell there are 200000 possible targets where the drugs could be used. At present very few targets have been identified. Our main endeavour would be to identify the missing 190000 targets for which there are no drugs, he said.
The joint research will be done at the Centre for Chemical Biology and Therapeutics (CCBT), to be inaugurated on September 17 at the National Centre for Biological Science and in STEM campus in Bangalore. The integrated multidisciplinary research centre is designed to pioneer new approaches to create small-molecule tools that target novel classes of targets and aims to develop new scientific approaches for the treatment of diseases.
With a commitment to facilitate scientific exchanges and nurture collaborations between Cambridge University and CCBT, researchers will aspire to combine methods from genetics, chemistry, cell biology, biochemistry and imaging to understand the alterations in cellular systems that underlie human diseases, and identify ways to correct them using drugs.
"We will work together to jointly find ways to identify the missing targets towards treatment of diseases like cancer and other infections with new drugs in a much different and novel manner from the conventional methods," Prof Borysiewicz said.
Maintaining that this collaboration was started at a small level three years ago he said: " We are now working together on a bigger partnership which would involve exchange of junior and senior staff from Cambridge to work with Indian scientists."
Besides drug development, he said Cambridge University will also be working with India in the fields of nanotechnology, material science, food security, food supply and ecological conservation.
"We do not have any off shore campuses for undergraduate courses anywhere in the world and do not intend to have one in India also. But we have a strategic goal to broaden all our 200-300 collaborative research projects in India so that it could be in the wider interest for both the countries."
Observing that he did not take the world rankings of universities so seriously, he said : " It has been a wonderful experience for Cambridge to engage with India. There are world class researchers in India who are working in institutes of excellence."