RESEARCH INTEREST: CANCER
Although most types of cancers are curable, but some types like wild beasts still remain to be tamed. I would prefer cancer for my research as it has always interested me due to several factors.
To begin with my grandmother died of cancer when I was just two years old. Many of my other relatives also died of cancer. The several deaths due to cancer around me caused in me an urge to take this as a challenge and thus to find a cure for cancer. During my B. Sc. days, my interest in cancer was created by my favorite teacher Dr. Padma Ambalam at Christ College, Rajkot. She gave us an insight on how signal transduction plays a pivotal role in the normal cellular functioning and how an error in the mechanism causes disastrous problems. The property of malignancy and difficulty of producing drugs specific to a particular tumor became quite clear to me when I and a friend gave a power point presentation on “CANCER” which was part of the curriculum.
A visit to the Cancer Hospital in Rajkot also played a key role in creating a curiosity in me and in making up my decision to do research in cancer. I have always believed in “Curiosity creates Cures”.
Sir Arthur Kornberg once said, “The pursuit of Curiosity about the basic facts of nature has proven with few exceptions throughout the history of medical science, to be the route by which successful drugs and devices of modern medicines were discovered”. During my stay for two years at Bangalore for my M. Sc., I read several journals and articles on cancer and my keenness to do research on cancer increased. I felt as an individual that something concrete must be done. I therefore liked doing more and more experiments linked to cancer in one way or other (like stem cells, animal biotechnology experiments, regenerative cells etc.) in college. But I strongly believe that for a country like India where cancer research is in nascent stage, doing experiments alone will not do the trick. One must be able to translate the research he has done into action. Research is only as good as its application, and that is only as good as to how sustained it might be.
My inquisitiveness in cancer, I am sure would be beneficial in the future. To prove this, I site the following example from one of the “FINDINGS” magazine published by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: A scientist wondered why the body sometimes destroys its own proteins and why muscles waste away when they are not used. His research group discovered the culprit: cellular garbage disposal-like structures called proteasomes. While creating compounds to clog proteasomes, the scientists noticed that one of the substances had anticancer properties. Under the name Velcade, this drug is now used to treat multiple myeloma, the second most common blood cancer.