Indian bioinformatics firm Strand Life Sciences announced last week that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Mazumdar Shaw Comprehensive Cancer Centre of Bangalore's Narayana Hrudalaya Health City to collaborate on studies on head and neck cancer.
The studies will include proteomics work to identify protein biomarker signatures specific to the disease with the ultimate aim of developing diagnostic or prognostic kits for use in the clinical setting, Binay Panda, Strand's senior vice president, told ProteoMonitor.
"Our intent is to understand in a much more comprehensive way how head and neck cancers originate, how they progress to different stages, and how we can come up with some tangible solutions that can be given to the patients for real clinical help," he said, adding that head and neck cancer is one of the more prevalent forms of cancer in India.
The project is currently in the discovery stage, Panda said, with researchers looking for genomic and proteomic biomarkers that could be of use in a clinical setting.
"We're interested in finding out if we can discover some signatures that are specific to this cancer," he said. Strand, he noted, will bring its computational expertise to the collaboration, which will also involve Ganit Labs – a public-private partnership headed by Panda between Strand and the Indian government focused on functional genomics and next-generation sequencing.
Traditionally a provider of informatics tools – including Agilent's Mass Profiler Pro proteomics software – Strand has in recent years looked to become more directly involved in research projects, noted company chairman and CEO Vijay Chandru in a statement regarding the collaboration.
"Over the last decade Strand has evolved from being a tools provider to a serious applications science company with a focus on cancer biology," he said.
Panda declined to disclose the terms of the collaboration or the size of the patient cohorts involved in the studies.