Sri Nandamuri Balakrishna, Chairman and Dr T S Rao, Medical Director, Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital and Research Institute, in their conversation with Shahid Akhter, ENN, hold forth on the genesis of this magnificent cancer institute, talk about its education and research programmes and its future plans
Please tell us about the genesis of Basavatarakam Indo- American Cancer Hospital and Research Institute.
BIACH & RI is a culmination of dream of legendary Sri N T Rama Rao to have a full-fledged cancer hospital in Andhra Pradesh providing quality treatment at affordable cost to the people as his wife Smt Nandamuri Basavatarakam was herself an unfortunate victim of cancer. Many likeminded people from various walks of life and philanthropists in India and USA took his call, joined hands and formed Smt Nandamuri Basavataraka Ramarao Memorial Cancer Foundation in India and Indo-American Cancer Organization in USA to pro mote BIACH & RI. Though the foundation stone was laid in the year 1989, the Institute could start functioning only in June 2000 with 100 beds and has gradually developed into a major cancer treatment centre in the country with over 500 beds.
What is the core strength of BIACH & RI in cancer care?
Comprehensive and scientific treatment is provided to all patients rather than luxury to just a few people. We are stressing on advancement of tech- nologies and techniques in cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Onco scenario in India is quite grim and present number of cancer patients in the country is estimated to be around 2.5 million and about 7.50 lakh cases are being reported every year
What technological advancements have been introduced lately?
The Institute has been continuously introducing the latest technological developments in the treatment of cancer and it was the first cancer hospital to install a Linear Accelerator in India for radiation treatment. Presently, it has six linear accelerators, the largest number in India and four of these including the Novatis Rapid Arc with V Mat supported by Brain Lab are IMRT capable. The Institute also has Real Time Position Management (RPM) and Acute Breath Coordination (ABC) facilities for SBRT. It is the only facility in India to have Lantis, ARIA and Mosaiq networks with three independent servers and common RT network for radiation planning. Besides, it was the first centre in India to introduce Cone beam CT based IGRT, breath control system for IGRT and All in One (AIO) immobilization system for conformal radiotherapy.
Any technology that is exclusive to Basavatarakam Indo American Cancer Hospital and Research Institute in India?
Intraoperative Radiation Therapy (IORT). It delivers a concentrated dose of radiation therapy to a tumor bed during surgery. This advanced technology may help kill microscopic disease, reduce radiation treatment times or provide an added radiation boost.Does Basavatarakam Indo American Cancer Hospital and Research Institute play a role in mentoring the next generation in cancer care?
The Institute has very active mentoring and training programme for future surgical, medical and radiation oncologists as well as pathologists and has been accredited by the National Board of Examinations (NBE) to conduct their DNB programme for surgical, medical (post MS/MD) and radiation oncologists as well as pathologists (post MBBS). It encourages its doctors to actively participate in in-house as well as external academic programmes, CMEs and workshops/ seminars. The Institute also regularly organizes national and international programmes on latest advances in cancer treatment and related issues. Being one of the largest laparoscopic surgery centers in India, it provides opportunities to young surgeons to be trained in laparoscopic surgery through observer programmes.
Accreditations are of immense value because they sensitize the health care professionals and other staff towards consistently ensuring quality and safety in patient care
What facilities are offered in blood and marrow stem cell transplantation for patients without fully matched family donor?
There are three options: Matched unrelated Donor (MUD) search, Haplo identical sibling transplanta- tion and Umbilical Cord Blood transplantation.
What other supportive care and oncology services do you offer?
Palliative care, blood and components, alternative care systems like Naturopathy, Ayurveda and Physi- otherapy.
Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital and Research Institute is reckoned one of the best cancer hospitals in India. How about the influx of patients from neighbouring countries?
Number of International patients com- ing to the hospital is increasing. Hospital is receiving patients mainly from Africa and Middle East and there are patients from SAARC nations also.
Is BIACH & RI working in collaboration with other organizations, particularly in molecular tumour profiling?
BIACH & RI is working in collaboration with Tata Memorial Hospital in the fields of cancer treatment, educa- tion and research.
What are your future plans? Where do you see Basavatarakam Indo-American Cancer Hospital and Research Institute five years from now?
With the optimization of capacity in the Hyderabad facility, the future plans are to open satellite hospitals in other parts of Andhra Pradesh particularly due to division of the state into Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.