Need to improve research in medical field: US-based Kashmiri scientist

Delivers lecture at KU, talks about study he is leading to find treatment to cancer with cancer cells

ZEHRU NISSA
Srinagar, Publish Date: Aug 17 2018 12:19AM | Updated Date: Aug 17 2018 12:19AM
Need to improve research in medical field: US-based Kashmiri scientistRepresentational Pic

US-based Kashmir scientist, Dr Khalid Shah, who is leading a study to treat cancer using “engineered” cancer cells, on Thursday stressed upon importance of bringing improvement in researches in medical field in Kashmir.

While delivering a lecture at Kashmir University’s biotechnology department, Dr Shah said he was of firm belief that Kashmiri scholars can excel in any research field. 

“But we need to bring about a change in culture and inculcate competence to be able to do that,” he said.

Dr Shah said many people in Valley could “become extraordinary” if they were given a culture supportive of science and possibilities of science.

While referring to prevalent scenario in Kashmir, Dr Shah said, “I know opportunities are very limited here but that should not be the excuse for not exploring potential researches and chasing an idea”.

Dr Shah is director Center for Stem Cell Therapeutics and Imaging at Harvard Medical School. He is heading a study by team of researchers at Harvard to treat cancer using engineered cancer cells. 

Under the technique titled “Kill Switch” the scientists are focusing on gene editing cancer cells and employing them to fight the cells of their own kind.

While delivering the lecture on cell based therapies for cancer, Dr Shah said, “There is an immense potential in gene-engineering cells of various types and using them to target cancer cell.”

He said his lab at Harvard Medical School where he is working with a team of scientists was one of the few labs in world that has been able to create an interface between research in labs and clinics where patients are treated.

“We have been able to demonstrate how stem cells can shrink brain tumors, much better than conventional therapies,” he said.

Sharing his personal experiences on the research that has got attention worldwide, Dr Shah said, “Initially, we did not have anything to start work on the project, no money, nothing,” he said. “But we started from scratch. That's how big labs and big industries are made - just with an idea.”

Dr Shah said his team was currently working on stem cell engineering to treat brain tumors and hoped that they would be able to start clinical trials of new biological therapy by April 2019.

 

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