First phase of Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre was completed at a cost of US $ 22 million in 1994.
Research is needed to develop better ways of detecting and treating cancer and to improve cancer care. Over the coming years, SKMCH&RC's expanding knowledge of cancer genetics will have a major impact on its ability to predict an individual's level of risk of developing cancer, to detect and diagnose cancer early and to select treatments which are most likely to be effective. Ultimately, the genetic revolution may lead to ways of preventing cancer. The genetic revolution provides major opportunities for identifying people at risk of cancer and for developing better treatments. At the moment such studies are limited in Pakistan.
SKMCH&RC's research is organized in three different streams: i) epidemiology, which seeks to understand the lifestyle and environmental causes of cancer; ii) molecular biology, which will enable the development of better ways of predicting treatment responses and disease outcome i.e. molecular markers; and iii) clinical trials, which is primarily focused on the evaluation of existing and new therapies. The Management Information Systems (MIS) Department has developed a state of the art hospital information system. Through this system, the research team has been able to handle the logistics of a large hospital, documenting a wealth of patient information.
SKMCH&RC's objective is to explore the bridge between laboratory and clinic though the support of translational studies in areas of diagnosis, prognosis and treatment. It is important to maintain research concerned with cancer in local population, addressing issues of prevention through studies on the effects of genetic make-up, environment and lifestyle.
The research section has been developed over the last five years, and, recently, received a donation to refurbish the 3rd floor of the Hospital into a Research Wing, housing a suite of research laboratories, a data management and epidemiology division, as well as a clinical research section responsible for clinical trials.
The team of researchers is expanding and several projects are underway. Currently, Basic Sciences Research is divided into three main areas of interest and several projects are being conducted:
(1) Identification of genetic risk factors in the development of cancer
Prevalence and spectrum of BRCA1/2 germline mutations in Pakistani Breast and/or Ovarian Cancer families.
A study to evaluate the association between germline genetic variation and disease risk and outcome in ovarian carcinoma in Pakistan.
The role of p53 mutations in the development, progression and outcome of breast cancer in Pakistan.
Genetic causes of colorectal cancer in the Pakistani population.
(2) Tumor virology
Human Papillomavirus Associated with Esophageal Cancer in Pakistan - A Retrospective Analysis.
Human Papillomavirus in Cervical Cancer cases from Pakistan.
Transcriptional profiling of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma; relationship to EBV status, histological subtype and geographical locale.
(3) Infections and cancer
PCR assay for detection & quantification of fungal infections in patients with AML, ALL and Myelodysplastic Syndrome.