Lack of space in Mumbai inspired 'cluster of cancer hospitals'

The Atomic Energy Commission is all set to approve two new branches of Tata Memorial Centre at Visakhapatnam and Kolkata, which, along with Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre, will form the first three centres in the grid.

“The TMC in Mumbai initiated the project after it faced hardship in arranging accommodation for lakhs of family members. Though philanthropic organisations have some space, it is becoming increasingly difficult to arrange for their prolonged stay in Mumbai for months,” Srikumar Banerjee, secretary in the Department of Atomic Energy, said here.

The TMC initiated the cancer grid in which patients will get the first treatment at the TMC and the follow up treatments and therapies at the grid centres. Two TMC centres are likely in Kolkata and Visakhapatnam.

Aware of the DAE’s need to find out more hospitals for the grid, the Group of Ministers on Bhopal asked DAE and department of biotechnology to take over the 350-bed Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC).

The Bhopal hospital will be converted into a specialised cancer centre in addition to taking care of five lakh gas victims, DBT secretary M K Bhan said, adding that teams from both departments are assessing the future course of action for the hospital. At the hospital, biotechnology researchers get a chance to conduct “disease-oriented research” on human beings, after experimenting on mice and cell lines, Bhan said. Radiation medicine will also be one of its priority areas.

Care for critical patients

The BMHRC will keep its focus on the areas specifically assigned to it, as the new AIIMS-type tertiary care hospital coming up in Bhopal will care for critical patients in other areas.

“A memorandum of understanding between the two departments on running the Bhopal hospital is likely next week,” said union science minister Prithviraj Chavan.

The two departments signed another MoU here on Tuesday for collaborating on a host of projects and development of the biotechnology cluster in Bangalore. One of the DAE units - national centre on biological sciences - is closely involved in developing the cluster that will focus on stem cell and bioengineering.

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