Our Research Division
Cancer research is a top priority at SKMCH&RC and has been organized into three different units:
- Clinical Research Office
- Cancer Registry and Clinical Data Management (CRCDM)
- Basic Science Research Laboratory
Clinical Research Office
The Clinical Research Office (CRO) is an active clinical trials office involved in several international studies from major pharmaceutical companies. With the help of full-time research coordinators who are familiar with Good Clinical Practice guidelines and trial operations, it facilitates linking patients to clinical research. Data from clinical trials of drugs used to treat cancer worldwide enables us to evaluate the dose, duration and effectiveness of treatment for our patients.
The CRO has been managing clinical trials at SKMCH&RC for over a decade. During this time, the division has created a sophisticated infrastructure to recruit volunteers for research and their follow-ups. To ensure that all research conducted at the Hospital is in accordance with international policies and the highest ethical standards, working guidelines include a well-defined selection and review process for all research activities. This process calls for a review by the Scientific Review Committee for scientific validity followed by review of the study by the Institutional Review Board, which safeguards the well-being and rights of human subjects who participate in the research. The Institutional Review Board is composed of members from various walks of life with both external and internal members; the chairperson is always a non-SKMCH&RC individual to ensure an unbiased review of research. To further the awareness of ethical issues in research amongst our physician researchers, the CRO has also initiated a Research Ethics Training programme. The programme comprises of a series of eight sessions followed by an evaluation exam at the end. The first batch of participants will complete the training by mid of November 2011. We have also secured the American Academy of Continuing Medical Education (AACME) accreditation for this programme.
Cancer Registry and Clinical Data Management
The Cancer Registry and Clinical Data Management (CRCDM) section is one of the most well-established, hospital-based registries in Pakistan. The Registry, formed in 1994, is a member of the International Association of Cancer Registries in Lyon, France. THE CDCRM staff is responsible for coding and generating summaries on cancer and non-cancer cases. Since January 2004, the Registry has been coding cancer cases using the International Classification of Diseases for Oncology, Third Edition (ICD-O-3). The CRCDM generates summaries using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification (ICD-9-CM). Each year, the CRCDM provides extensive cancer statistics by gender, age group, demographic area, stage, grade, and morphology.
The section is actively involved in setting-up a citywide, population-based, cancer registry, The Punjab Cancer Registry, which is registered under the Societies’ Act of Pakistan (XXI of 1860). The Punjab Cancer Registry will assist in determining the population-level statistics in the area of Lahore district. Aside from this project, the CRCDM staff prepares and updates strategies on breast health awareness, especially noting the number of breast cancer cases at the Hospital, and collaborates with other professionals and organisations at both the national and international level to deal with this issue. The CRCDM staff also assists students, researchers, and clinicians in conducting research studies at the SKMCH&RC. These studies have been conducted on specific types of cancer as well, the results of which can be viewed on PubMed, a web-based database of medical research publications.
Basic Sciences Laboratory
In today’s era of translational cancer research, the ultimate aim is to make the results of our research into applicable measures for our patients. The Basic Science Laboratory is equipped to conduct molecular, cellular and genetic studies. The lab is involved in trying to gain information about genetic and environmental risk factors for common cancers in Pakistan, through combined epidemiological and basic science studies. Specific viruses have also been linked to cancer; studies are being conducted to explore the role of known pathogens in the development of cancer in our population, with the hope that effective preventative measures will reduce the number of cases. The immunology and pathogenesis of different cancers is currently being explored through a number of research projects by the research scientists of SKMCH&RC to find better ways to diagnose cancer at early stages and to monitor effectiveness of treatment.
Click here to download the Research Form.