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Analytical Capacity Building for the Study of Tobacco Carcinogen Exposures in India


Cancer risks associated with the use of smokeless tobacco (SLT) products worldwide differ drastically. Variations in the amounts of cancer-causing chemical constituents present in SLT are believed to play a key role in determining the differences in the carcinogenic potential of SLT products. Better understanding of this relationship by linking carcinogen exposures from specific SLT products with particular health effects has been identified by the World Health Organization as one of key research gaps in addressing the public health challenge of SLT. India, where nearly one third of the population uses various forms of SLT and oral/head and neck cancer (OHNC) is a leading cause of cancer-related death, represents both the area of critical need and the unique setting for such studies.

Our research is assessing the impact of carcinogen content in SLT products marketed in India on exposures and OHNC risk in users. In addition to generating novel scientific data, this study incorporates capacity building activities such as the development of analytical laboratory resources, training of young investigators from Mumbai in tobacco research and relevant procedures, and establishment of tobacco product and bio specimen repositories for future research. Our team includes established and new tobacco researchers and clinicians in Mumbai who are based in institutions with complementary backgrounds and resources, ensuring the long-lasting and comprehensive impact of this work.

Our long-term vision is that the capacity developed through this proposal will serve not only to expand relevant research by our collaborators and trainees in Mumbai, but also as a unique national/regional research and training resource in the field of tobacco carcinogenesis.

Type of the Study: Laboratory Epidemiology

Timeline: August 2017- July 2022

Study Participants: Patients with oral head and neck cancer and healthy smokeless tobacco users.