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HindustanTimes Tue,29 Jul 2014

Cambridge University to work with India to develop drugs for cancer, other diseases

Vanita Srivastava, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 14, 2013
First Published: 20:56 IST(14/9/2013) | Last Updated: 21:00 IST(14/9/2013)

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.

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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."


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