CANCER IN INDIA
train' offers uncertain route out of despair in India (Yahoo
health warning has little impact' (Press Trust of India-21/04/2008)
Biocon to market cancer drug in Pakistan (ANI -10/08/2007)
loses patent battle for cancer drug (CNN-IBN - 07/08/2007)
centres are home to HIV, cancer patients ( IE - 6/08/2007)
DRUG companies are smelling a long-term opportunity in the several anti-tobacco initiatives getting enforced in the country. And that in turn is fuelling their plans for the tobacco cessation segment, involving therapies to get smokers to kick the habit. Budget 05, it is reported, may announce a health cess on tobacco products. And a global anti-smoking treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), kicks-in across the world on Feb 27. This, combined with the anti-tobacco legislation already in place in the country, has spurred the bullish sentiment on tobacco cessation and last week saw drug companies Pfizer and Elder Pharma unveil plans for the segment. A patented tobacco cessation product from the Pfizer stable will be brought into India in a couple of years, Pfizer India's, Managing Director, Mr Hocine Sidi Said, told analysts last week.With immediate plans for the segment, Elder Pharma has inked an exclusive marketing arrangement with Ceejay Healthcare to market the latter's nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) product Nu Life in the country. Elder Pharma has done post-marketing trials for the product and expects it to add Rs 15 crore to the kitty in the first year after launch, Elder's General Manager, Marketing, Mr Tarun Kumar, told Business Line. Priced at Rs 8 for one miligram, Rs 15 for two milligrams and Rs 10 for four milligrams, the product will be available in two flavours - GoodKha for chewing tobacco and Eucomint for smokers. The product will be available across the country by mid-March, he said.
Ceejay Healthcare had launched the chewing gum NRT product in the over-the-counter category in 2003. But with the OTC strategy being mismatched for a serious NRT product, Elder Pharma got on board and re-launched the product though the ethical route, where doctors would prescribe the product to smokers. Other pharma companies in the fray include Sun Pharma with its Smoquit, also a prescription product and GlaxoSmithKline with Zyban. But it has been a blow hot, blow cold experience for both these companies, with Smoquit not exactly being a brand on fire. GSK on its part had to put Zyban on the back-burner, with the market not being ready for such intensive and expensive treatment, besides there were global reports of side-effects, said an analyst. Putting the issue in perspective, Dr Srinath Reddy, Professor of Cardiology, All-India Institute of Medical Sciences and an expert on the subject said that the FCTC gives countries that are signatory to the treaty three years to have caution labels on tobacco product packs and five years to completely ban advertising. "Despite the legislation being in place, India is still to address cross-border advertising, surrogate advertising and issues around smokeless tobacco. Tobacco cessation products will see a growth as the Centre opens up cessation clinics across the country and more anti-tobacco initiatives are launched."
The Medical Students/ Residents/Fellows
section of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin has
launched a campaign in the US to curb tobacco use by South Asians.
AAPI’s 2004-2005 third annual national service initiative this year,
dubbed ‘Anti-Tobacco Awareness Among South Asians’, will hold health
workshops, health fairs, lectures and seminars. “Tobacco use is an
epidemic that adversely affects the health of Americans and South Asians
alike,” said AAPI-MSRF co-service chair Kiran Patel. “By providing
medical students and residents with a variety of educational resources and
platforms, AAPI hopes to promote a healthy, tobacco-free lifestyle for
India has the world's highest incidence of cancer of the gall bladder, mouth and lower pharynx, according to a report published in the British Medical Journal. The report was based on India's first cancer atlas, scheduled for release soon by the Health Ministry. The atlas was produced by the Indian Council of Medical Research using Bangalore-based National Cancer Registry Programme's data drawn from 105 hospitals and private clinics in 82 of the 593 districts in the country. The survey included more than two lakh cancer patients.
According to the survey, the age-adjusted incidence of gall bladder cancer in women in New Delhi was 10.6 per lakh of the population. This is the world's highest rate of women suffering from gall bladder cancer. Similarly, the world's highest incidence of cancer associated with tobacco was found to be in the districts of central, south, and northeast India. The incidence of cancer of the lower pharynx in men was found to be 11.5 per lakh population in Aizawl district of Mizoram. This is again the world's highest incidence of cancer of the lower pharynx in men. With an incidence rate of 7.6 per lakh population, Aizawl district also showed the world's highest incidence of tongue cancer. The district also recorded the country's highest rate of stomach cancer among men. ccording to the report, the incidence of mouth cancer among men in Pondicherry was 8.9 per lakh, making it one of the highest rates in the world for men. Rates of stomach cancer were high among men in Bangalore and Chennai. The survey also detected thyroid cancer in women in the coastal districts of Kerala, Karnataka, and Goa. "Lower pharynx cancer may be linked to tobacco use, but we're going to explore the genetic components of stomach cancer," Dr. Eric Zomawia, pathologist at the Government Hospital in Aizawl and also a collaborator on the project, was quoted as saying in the journal. The atlas also highlights the reality and confirms earlier observations that breast cancer has replaced cervical cancer as the leading site of cancer among women in Indian cities and that lung cancer is the most common cancer in men in Kolkata, Mumbai, and New Delhi.
The Tata group is looking at fresh investments in West Bengal and is also setting up a cancer hospital on the occasion of the birth centenary celebrations of JRD Tata and Naval Tata. Once it comes up, it will be the first specialty hospital to be set up by the Tatas outside Mumbai but not attached to any of its several production centres located all over India. The details of the hospital are being finalised in consultation with top brass of the Mumbai based Tata Memorial Hospital.
Biocon to Launch Its First Drug for Cancer by 2005-End-(Asia
The growing popularity of Indian food is evident from the increasing number of Indian restaurants opening up across the country. But it is not merely the lure of the palate that ensures the success of the cuisine, now health benefits will add to the charm of a well-cooked roghan josh. Scientists have found that spicy food could protect the body against damage that leads to cancers, in particular leukaemia. Most children in India grow up with the knowledge of the benefits of turmeric, but on Thursday, a childhood leukaemia conference in London was told that the root that gives yellow colour to Indian dishes is an anti-oxidant which can protect against environmental chemicals that damage DNA. Scientists now increasingly believe that lower rates of leukaemia in Asia may be due to the difference in diet.
Turmeric is also said to slow the rate of diseases such as Alzheimer's and to possess anti-inflammatory properties that could help with Crohn's Disease. Speaking at the conference, Professor Moolky Nagabhushan, of Loyola University Medical Centre in Chicago, said turmeric blocks some of the harmful effects of cigarette smoke, protects against chromosome damage and prevents dangerous chemicals forming after eating processed food. It has been seen that curcumin, the compound that gives turmeric its yellow colour, stops leukaemia cells multiplying. He said: "Our studies show that turmeric - and curcumin - in the diet mitigate the effects of some of these risk factors." Ken Campbell, of the Leukaemia Research Fund, said leukaemia was rare in people of Asian descent. He said: "This suggests that lower rates of childhood leukaemia in India, China and Japan may, at least in part, be due to differences in genetically determined susceptibility."
India's Supreme Court has admitted a petition from an organisation representing cancer patients that challenges the government's decision to grant Novartis the exclusive marketing rights for imatinib, a drug that has emerged as a frontline treatment for chronic myeloid leukaemia. The petitioner, the Cancer Patients Aid Association, has said that exclusive marketing rights for the drug would eliminate cheaper generic versions of the drug and make the treatment unaffordable to thousands of patients in India. "Shutting down access to the drug by making it unaffordable is tantamount to denying patients the right to life," said Mr Yogendra Sapru, the association's chairman. Although Indian laws do not permit product patents on drugs, the Indian patents office has granted Novartis exclusive marketing rights for imatinib under the provisions available in an international trade agreement on intellectual property rights signed by India.
The company's product, Glivec, is a crystalline form of imatinib mesilate, a compound that blocks a specific protein implicated in chronic myeloid leukaemia. The drug has been approved for this cancer in the European Union and in more than 60 countries. When Novartis introduced Glivec in India in May 2002, several Indian drug companies began to produce generic versions of the compound. But after Novartis received exclusive marketing rights last November, local manufacturers have had to stop selling the generic versions. "The cost of a month's dose of Glivec is 120 000 rupees [£1400; $2600) 10 times higher than what the generic versions used to cost patients," said Mr Sapru. "The overwhelming majority of patients in India do not have this kind of money."
A spokeswoman for Novartis India said that more than 2380 patients in India currently receive the drug free under the Glivec international patient assistance programme. "No patient who requires Glivec and meets medical and economic criteria for inclusion into the programme is denied the drug," she said. She said that oncologists and haematologists in India were familiar with the procedure for enrolling patients into the programme. Patients who were not insured and who had no funds to draw on were eligible for the programme. However, doctors say that patients have been affected by the lack of generic versions. "Dozens of patients have had to stop treatment after the generics went out of the market," Dr Purvish Parikh, head of the department of medical oncology at the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, said.
The association has petitioned the court to direct the government to impose a price control on the drug. Experts in international trade law say that the government has the authority to fix prices despite the grant of exclusive marketing rights. "The international trade agreement and Indian laws allow the government to take steps to protect the health of its citizens," said Sourirajan Srinivasan, managing trustee of LoCost, an organisation that has been tracking drug pricing practices and producing cheap generic drugs for the domestic market. "The real question is whether the government is willing to act."
Centre would soon open a national cancer facility here at a cost of Rs 55 crore to augment research on various aspects of the dreaded disease, Union Health minister Ambumani Ramadoss said here today. Inaugurating an undergraduate MBBS course at the Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research here, Ramadoss said the Union government had sought a 'bigger piece' of land from the West Bengal government to create the Regional Cancer Research Centre (RCRC). "Though the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI) is doing very good research work, we need a bigger facility for more advanced research," the minister said. West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee said though the RCRC was initially planned as an annexe of the CNCI at its campus, the Centre later proposed to take up a massive Rs 55 crore project. "We have identified land in the new township of Rajarhat for the project," he said.
In a repeat of the Indian software success story, an indigenously developed laboratory information management software is helping the global research community in drug discovery and development. The software has been adopted by biotechnology companies and research and development (R&D) institutes in developed countries like US and Canada and helping them in the discovery and development of novel cancer therapies. Arius Research is a biotechnology company focused on cancer therapy through the discovery and development of novel anticancer monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). It has built a proprietary technology platform, FunctionFIRST that rapidly identifies powerful MAbs targeting a variety of cancer indications. Arius is working on the delivery of a personalised therapy by matching multiple antibodies to the distinct antigenic characteristics of each patient’s tumour cells thereby increasing efficacy and avoiding side effects.
Ms Acharya said, “Arius has taken the step of implementing a LIMS to manage the volume and complexity of data generated during drug development. Biotracker LIMS was selected for its flexibility, feature rich components, and ability to integrate numerous complex data systems.” She also said that Biotracker enables life sciences labs to keep an accurate track of samples, reagents, instruments, processes and output from the time these samples or resources are acquired, right through to the final stage of research. The software is based on guidelines set forth by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
A new diagnostic technique to be unveiled at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in less than 5 months promises to help doctors detect diseases like cancer before their symptoms appear. The Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is a non-invasive procedure performed on a Rs 150 million machine. It can detect the biochemical changes the body goes through at the cellular level during a disease. Therefore, cancer, for example can be detected much earlier-even before the tumour appears-and chances of survival will increase. "Traditionally MRI or CT scans can see structural details only," explained Dr. A. Malhotra, Head of Department of Nuclear Medicine. "but before the structure deranges, biochemistry is affected. This technology helps us identify the disease at that level. Besides, instead of sectional scans, the entire body can be scanned in one sweep." The institute which is the second in the country and the only government institution to get this will not be charging for the tests. "Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai has an older version which can just test the biochemical changes but the one here can simultaneously detect the physical abnormalities."said Sharma.
Kerala might have better health standards than the rest of the country, but this state capital has reported the highest number of breast and prostate cancer cases in India. This is largely due to hormonal factors, affluent lifestyles and lack of exercise, says cancer specialist M. Krishnan Nair. "The incidence of breast and prostate cancer in Thiruvananthapuram is the highest in the country, followed by Mumbai and Delhi," he told reporters after launching a lifetime cancer care scheme at a private hospital here. Breast cancer affects 30 out of every 100,000 women, a health research project had found, Nair said. It also revealed that the proportion of girls among the total number of females afflicted by cancer was on the rise in Kerala. More women in Kerala were also being affected by cancer of the uterus, Nair said, quoting the survey. "In Kerala, over the years, the average age of women having cancer of the uterus has gone up from 45 to 55 as compared to two decades ago," said Nair. All this added up to a dramatic increase in the number of new cancer patients in the state. From 20,000 annually, this had gone up to 35,000, Nair pointed out. As if this were not frightening enough, cases of oral cancers could rise dramatically as more and more people in Kerala were getting addicted to chewing "paan" or betel leaves, Nair contended.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has included Vaidya Balendu Prakash of VCP Cancer Research Foundation, Dehradun in the Programme Advisory Committee (PAC) of National Cancer Control Programme. He is the first ayurvedic practitioner to be made part of this committee, which consists of India's top ranking oncologists. The Ministry's PAC is drawn from various ministries and medical institutions and is chaired by joint secretary in the Department of Biotechnology. There are seven medical practitioners in the committee, it is learnt.
The Drug Control General of India (DCGI) and the Indian Centre for Molecular Research (ICMR) has cleared the first Phase 1 trial project to be conducted by an Indian Contract Research Organisation (CRO), the Ahmedabad-based Lambda Therapeutic Research. Currently the biggest contract research organization (CRO) in India, Lambda has recently been contracted by an Indian pharma major to conduct Phase 1 trial of a new molecule in the country. According to Ashish Kumar Dasgupta of Lambda, there will be two trials of oral and intravenous dosage forms and are scheduled to commence around the third week of May. It is the first time an Indian CRO is engaged in conducting Phase I studies. The protocol has been approved by the DCGI and ICMR last week, he said. He informed Pharmabiz that there are few more Phase I studies under various stages of discussions for the CRO. It may be recalled that Lambda was also the first Indian CRO, which has two clinical research facilities in India. It has 100 beds facilities at Mumbai and Ahmedabad for the conduct of Bioequivalence studies. Lambda is conducting almost six to eight pivotal studies a month for submission in Europe and US. The CRO now awaits USFDA inspection, which is expected to begin soon. Lambda is equipped with 12 HPLCS and 4 LC/MS/MS. Very soon few more LC/MS/MS will be added to enhance the bioanalytical capability. Lambda has also forged into phase II-III trials in various therapeutic segments like Anti-cancer, gastro-intestinal, autoimmune disorders, respiratory diseases etc.
Drug cos will move court against grant of EMR to Novartis globally, industry sources said. Annually, 5,000 CML patients are added to the current 15,000 sufferers in India. While the international cost for treatment is estimated at Rs 1.10 lakh for each patient in a year, Natco sells the same at one-tenth the cost. "Granting of EMR to Novartis' Glivec is a gross violation of the Indian Patents Act," Rajeev Nannapaneni, vicepresident, business development said.
Statistics available with Gujarat Cancer and Research Institute (GCRI) show that one in four women diagnosed with cancer in Ahmedabad suffers from breast cancer. Cancer specialists say that late marriage and late child bearing, coupled with fall in breast feeding period among urban women is taking its toll. Besides, the fat rich and modern lifestyle where women do less physical work and lead a sedentary life, plays a role.
If the Indian man wants to enjoy his 70th birthday, he must stub out the cigarette and bidis. Proof has arrived from researchers in Chennai after studying smoking habits of India's living and the dead-78,000 urban and rural men since 1995. Of these, 43,000 died of various causes during the 90s and 35,000 are living subjects from Tamil Nadu. This is the first completed study of deaths by smoking in India. At current death rates, about a quarter of cigarettes or bidi smokers would be killed by tobacco between 25-69 years; those killed at these ages losing an average 20 years of life expectancy. Half the smokers who die from TB are in their early 30s, 40s and 50s. Over 4000 deaths were recorded due to TB.
An Indian cancer centre is helping children battling against the disease using a special treatment programme. The Cancer Institute in Madras has seen cure rates improve dramatically over the last 20 years. The institute opened in the 1950s with just 12 beds. It is now one of India's most important centres for cancer treatment, providing free treatment for children who would otherwise have to go without. Around 7% of patients in the hospital are children. More than half of them have blood cancers such as acute lymphatic leukaemia, where too many white blood cells are produced.
Doctors say children who come to the hospital for treatment often have more serious problems than those in Western countries. Medical oncologist Dr S G Ramanan said they often develop cancers at an older age. They also tend to develop a more aggressive form of the disease, in which a different type of lymphocyte - the T-cell lymphocyte - multiplies. He said: "Biologically, the T-cell lymphocytes behave differently; they need more aggressive treatment. "The other point is the children come with a large burden of leukaemia, with high counts, and big enlargement of various organs - the liver, spleen, lymph nodes. "And the most important point would be the nutritional status is definitely inferior to the Western country patient."
Children who attend the hospital may also have picked up infections from overcrowded clinics or hospitals they have already visited. The combination of sickness and malnourishment means they can be too weak to cope with the treatment. So the hospital spends a week helping them build up their strength so they are ready for treatment. They can then begin their cancer treatment. In the early 1980s, the centre introduced a treatment plan for children's cancers of six months of intensive treatment and the up to two years where the child is monitored at home. Doctors say the situation has improved significantly. Cure rates in India have increased from 10 to 15% prior to its introduction to up to 60% cure rates now. The centre also runs activities to help the children relax, such as dancing.
Ranga Kumar runs a voluntary support group called Sanctuary which provides a whole range of non-medical needs to patients and their families. She said: "We call people over to teach the children dance, miming, music, painting, whatever. "We have regular music sessions for all the patients, which I feel is very therapeutic." She added the centre aims to provide emotional support for patients. "The minute they are diagnosed with cancer, not only the patient but the whole family is shattered, so we are with them, helping them with empathy to go through the treatment and come out of it. "We have cured cancer patients in our group, so when they tell them, look, we have gone through this and come out of it, and we are perfectly all right, I think that gives them a lot of strength to fight the disease."
Former Minister of State and parliamentarian, Dr. Shrikant Jichkar who recently suffered from cancer of the adrenal glands and was in a terminal stage of the disease has recovered completely. A positive attitude and the strength to fight cancer is what a person needs. In September 2000, when told that his cancer was in its last stages and that he had only 15 days to live, he decided to take it head on. He not only survived the 15 days, but also went on to recover in the next 6 months.
Union Minister for Health Shatrughan Sinha has said here that the centre will impose a ban on the use of tobacco and tobacco products in two phases. A bill will be introduced in the next session of parliament banning advertisements on tobacco, the import of tobacco and the sale of gutkha and other tobacco products near educational institutions. Mr. Sinha said the bill also proposed a ban on the sponsorship of any event by a firm manufacturing tobacco products. In the second phase, the union government intends to impose a total ban on the use of tobacco and tobacco products including gutkha. Replying to a query, Mr. Sinha said he was not at all afraid of the gutkha lobby. "I am not afraid of losing my job either on this issue. I am not 'bikau'. I am 'tikau'," he said, adding that one person died every 40 seconds in India due to tobacco consumption.
With a minimum of 4 pan galas in the vicinity of every South Mumbai college, cigarette smoking has increased by about 35% among youngsters in the last three years. A sample survey by collegians in South Mumbai colleges revealed that alarmingly, two out of five collegians smoke on average four to 12 cigarettes per day. The proportion of younger students and women smokers has also gone up. Along with opening more stalls, new brands have been introduced to entice students. While more stalls have begun to sell Marlboro worth Rs. 3.50 to Rs. 4 each, generally used by heavy smokers, Classic Milds that has entered the stalls about 3 years ago is termed standard cigarette today. Cool Mint, a cigarette with menthol flavour worth Rs. 3 by Gold Flakes is the latest to have entered the market just a week ago. With cigarettes now even being used as throat coolers, there is no sign of the cigarette trend witnessing a downfall.
Dr. S.H. Advani won the 31st Dhanvantari Award, India's greatest recognition in medicine, which is awarded annually since 1973 for outstanding contributions to medicine. Dr. Advani, who came to India from Karachi at the time of the partition, studied at Grant Medical College, specializing in Oncology. He trained in the US, UK and Japan and performed bone marrow transplant procedures. Dr. Advani was part of the largest cooperative clinical trial in India to treat ALL in children. The trial on 1200 children increased success rates from 20% to 70%, showing that doctors in developing countries, too, can get good results.
Indian gynaecologists who continue to recommend Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to control the symptoms of menopause and in preventing heart disease and osteoporosis may need to rethink their prescriprions. A recent issue of the Lancet warns that the use of HRT may heighten the risk of breast cancer, may not be protective against coronary heart disease and is associated with an increased risk of stroke.
Liver cancer may not necessarily be a death sentence as medical scientists have devised novel methods of buring them or injecting drugs directly into fatal multiplying cells. Medical scientists at AIIMS had demonstrated the procedures. A long needle with an uninsulated tip, attached to an insulated one, is inserted into the tumour inside the liver. Gradually, electric energy is allowed to flow into the tumour. High frequency electric waves pass into the tumour burning it completely. To facilitate the evn distribution of electric energy through the tumour, chilled saline is circulated simultaneously through the tumour. In another process, drugs are delivered directly to the tumour bed. A catheter helps deliver the drug mixed in poppy seed oil to the site. This helps to cut off the blood supply to the tumour even as the drug acts on it and kills it. The techniques do have risk of complication as high as 10% and mortality of 1%.
Taking advantage of the new emerging branches of genomics and proteomics, a pharmaceutical group has brought the molecular diagnostics to cancer patients in India and opened up a molecular diagnostic lab. The technology, which the Dabur group claims, is being provided for the first time to cancer patients in India, will help in diagnosis of cancer and predicting what kind of treatment is needed for cancer patients. So far diagnosis was done on the basis of morphology of cells, Dr Rama Mukherjee, director, Dabur Research Foundation said. However, the new lab, which had been opened up in Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre, Rohini, diagnosed cancer on the basis of presence of certain abnormal molecules. The new diagnostic methods would help in customising treatment for cancer patients, she said. It would enable identification of patients who require different therapies.
There are certain patients who respond to very mild therapies while others required intensive therapies, Mukherjee said. For example, there are about 20-25 per cent of breast cancer patients who are positive for a molecule called her2neu, a receptor which is over-expressed in cancer patients. This receptor transduces the signal for proliferation of cancer cells. If molecular diagnosis showed presence of these receptors, such patients could be given a drug called Herceptin. The drug blocks the receptors, thus preventing cell proliferation. The technique, which measures qualitative and quantitative differences in molecules called DNA (deoxy ribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid), was more sensitive as it could detect even one cancerous cell in 100,000 normal cells, she said. It would also be useful in monitoring treatment and determining the minimal residual disease to prevent its relapse. Initially there were plans to offer 15 molecular tests, of which eight had been made available and rest seven would be offered from May this year.
The inquiry committee, which was set up a few months ago to investigate the bizarre case of four teachers of the MSU department of chemistry becoming victims of different types of cancer, plans to submit its detailed report and findings. The committee has recommended that the chemistry laboratory should be overhauled and modernised to avoid any mishaps. Out of the four, who were affected by cancer, two had passed away and a third - Prof S Kansara passed away after she was diagnosed with lung cancer. A special inquiry committee was instituted to look into the four cases of cancer in teachers working in the chemistry laboratory where hazardous chemicals are used in the laboratory for experiments and research. The committee plans to provide two sets of recommendation to the MSU vice-chancellor Prof V D Pathak - the first would involve short term measures and the second would include long term measures.
According to Pathak, the committee does not have conclusive proof to establish that the four cases are related to the chemistry laboratory. It might be possible that the cancer was not caused due to chemicals in the laboratory. "But they have submitted proposals to overhaul the existing laboratory and upgrade it to modern standards. The short-term measures that the committee has suggested include a proposal to upgrade the laboratory. The three main changes that are suggested is changing the drainage system that carries chemicals into the drain, ensuring that the fumes in the laboratory are immediately removed and exhaust fans are in good working condition and changing the table top. Wood absorbs chemicals and it is possible that some chemicals seep in and can affect the person who works in the laboratory" he said. According to him, the chemicals that are being used were also checked. Department head Prof A K Rakshit said, "We are doing all that is possible to ensure that the best quality of chemicals are utilised. Though there are some aromatic chemicals that can be carcinogenic such incidences have not occurred in other laboratories", he said. The inquiry committee comprises eminent cancer specialists of the city.