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Paper on Hepatitis B virus gene bags Cancer Research Foundation award
Staff Reporter
 GUWAHATI, May 19 - The second edition of RK Barkotoky Best Research Paper Award for research on cancer instituted by the Cancer Research Foundation India (CRFI) has been announced. The award will be given to Dr Manash Pratim Sarma, at present working at the Assam Down Town University, and his research colleagues for their paper on Hepatitis B virus gene analysis in patients with liver cancer and in asymptomatic carriers in three regions of India, including North East India.

The award ceremony will be held on the foundation day function of CRFI to be held on June 8. The award consists of a certificate, an award plaque and cash prize. The research resulted from a collaborative study between the Department of Biotechnology of Gauhati University and the Department of Medicine of Maulana Azad Medical College, University of Delhi.

According to the research published, the sequences submitted to the GenBank from this study will contribute to current knowledge on the genetic diversity of the Hepatitis B virus worldwide, and it will provide a platform for whole-genome-based studies in the future, particularly in India.

CRFI said that complete genome sequencing is more reliable for genotyping and sub-genotyping classification of Hepatitis B virus rather than genotyping based on a particular gene, as the use of short sequences significantly limits the evaluation of genetic relatedness among Hepatitis B virus strains.

The study will be published in the journal Current Science. CRFI is a non-governmental and non-profit organisation that supports and promotes cancer research.

Dr Amal Chandra Kataki, chairman of CRFI, stated that there are very few studies on Hepatitis B virus and its association with liver cancer from the country, especially from the patient population of this region.

“Furthermore, spread of Hepatitis B virus infection due to unsafe and non-sterile tattooing as part of cultural practices may also explain the unusually higher incidences of liver cancer in certain regions of North East India,” said Dr Kataki.

A similar research on the association of toll-like receptor in chronic liver diseases and cancer among people of the North East is currently under way at the Dr Bhubaneswar Borooah Cancer Institute (BBCI) under the guidance of Dr Kataki, who is also the Director of BBCI.

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