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||Impediments in foreign collaboration and conducting a high throughput molecular epidemiology research in India, an assessment from a feasibility study.
||Iqbal B, Shah IA, Bhat GA, Bhat AB, Rafiq R, Nabi S, Malekhzadeh R, Abnet CC, Boffetta P, Jenab M, Dar NA
||BACKGROUND: Esophageal cancer is one of the world's top ten cancers. Its incidence, especially in the form of squamous cell carcinoma, is very high in some Asian regions including Kashmir. Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh are three provinces of Jammu and Kashmir, the northern most state of India. The three regions represent ethnically diverse socio-cultural populations with different incidences of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), a suitable setting for epidemiological studies. Hence, comparing the lifestyle, dietary habits and gene pools between the three regions will help in elucidation of ESCC etiology further. Therefore, to assess the possibility of conducting a larger case control study, we carried out a feasibility study to identify the collaborators as well as to explore patient referral systems and available research facilities in the state. FINDINGS: We found conducting good cancer molecular epidemiology studies is difficult due to lack of proper research facilities and favourable administrative guidelines. The appropriate storage, transportation and analyses facilities of biological specimens for genome-wide association study and assessment of nutrition and exposure markers are unavailable or not sufficiently developed. Guidelines that can encourage scientific collaborations within the country seem unavailable. However, the administrative guidelines available under which the export of biological specimens out of India for analysis seems impossible. Consequently, Indian researchers are unable to collaborate with foreign scientists and render state of art research facilities inaccessible to them. Scientists in other parts of India may also confront with most of these impediments. CONCLUSION: The study found that for conducting conclusive molecular epidemiological studies in India, referral system in hospitals is not systematic, scientific research facilities are inadequate as well as the guidelines for foreign collaboration are not favourable.