Featured ArticleFeb 21Issue

Committed to Cancer Care

Tata Medical Center, Kolkata is a setting example of how the institute has been able to cater to a large number of cancer patients from the Eastern and North-Eastern part of the country with cutting-edge health technologies

Since 2011, Tata Medical Centre (TMC) in Kolkata, has been catering to the patients of the Eastern and North-Eastern part of the country. Limited cancer care facilities made patients travel far off to Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai or CMC Vellore besides other corporate hospitals in other parts of the country. According to a Lancet study, the cancer situation is grim in certain North Eastern states which record higher incidences of cancer. As reported in the Lancet paper (Cancer mortality in India: a nationally representative survey Lancet 2012; 379: 1807–16) the North Eastern States of India has the highest risk of cancer-related death 11.2 per cent (95 per cent CI) when compared to Tamilnadu, Orrisa, Bihar 3-2 per cent). “The quality of cancer care was very poor in eastern India but we have changed that. People with cancer, who have gone to Mumbai for treatment and then come to us, have not gone back to Mumbai centre,” says Dr Mammen Chandy, Director, TMC.

TMC Kolkata is governed by a charitable trust – Tata Medical Center Trust, established in the year 2005. The centre sees about 20,000 new patients every year. Backed with modern technologies and upgraded facilities, it is a win-win situation both for the patients and the centre. The hospital was designed by Cannon Design, a renowned architectural firm from North America and is located on 13 acres of land at New Town in Kolkata, West Bengal. The hospital campus is one of the three institutions planned for management of cancer, the other two being Premashraya (an accommodation facility for outstation patients and their relatives) and the Tata Translational Cancer Research Center (TTCRC).

Says Dr Mammen Chandy, Director, TMC, “The centre has excellent diagnostic laboratories for histopathology, cytogenetics and molecular diagnosis apart from routine microbiology, biochemistry and haematology. All labs are NABL accredited. The centre also offers imaging with CT, MR, Mammo, PET, and a Cath lab, it has state-of-the-art OR’s with the Da Vinci Robot, 4 linear accelerators, haematopoietic stem cell transplantation and has completed 500 transplants.”


The centre caters to 75 per cent of patients in the general category and 25 per cent in the private category. The private unit charges twice what it costs to provide a service in the general category. Last year, TMC provided about Rs 18 crores of financial assistance to patients through the Tata Trusts, crowdfunding and individual donors. The hospital has a capacity of 437 beds and serves all sections of the society with 75 per cent of the infrastructure earmarked for subsidised treatment for the underprivileged sections. Having spent 42 years in CMC Vellore, the exposure has been invaluable.

Dr Chandy says, “I have applied most of what I have learnt at CMC Vellore to TMC in Kolkata. Most importantly many of the intrinsic values of not having a private practice, treating all employees with respect, working together as a team and making the patient the centre of all that we do have been the guiding principle at TMC.”

TMC has many collaborations both domestic and international and these have helped the centre move ahead with individual departments in working tie-ups with cancer centres all over the world. The paediatric team at TMC works with the group in St Jude’s Tennessee USA, the collaboration with Duke in North Carolina has been in areas like nursing and radiotherapy, the RT department works with Christie Hospital, The Royal Marsden and the Leeds Cancer Center.

The hospital has also been engaged with startups in the field of cancer care. Citing examples of the tie-ups, Dr Chandy says, “The BALCO Cancer Hospital in Chhattisgarh is an example of the way TMC works to help build other institutions in the region. We have been involved in the design, construction, equipment choices, SOP etc from inception to commissioning and we are still collaborating with them. The hospital has undertaken various research projects during the past years.

TTCRC has received Rs 75 crores from TCS and over Rs 10 crores from DBT is conducting a national multicentre trial on the treatment of childhood leukaemia where more than 2000 children have been treated at different centres with reduced mortality and improved outcomes. TTCRC works with the University of Manchester and other leading centres for childhood cancer in Europe.

TTCRC will focus on translational research, bringing problems from the bedside to the laboratory and solutions back to the bedside.TMC is part of a DBT-funded Systems medicine cluster for research on oral and cervical cancer. The DBT has just approved funding for TMC to develop a CAR T cell programme. The Quality Assurance & Control Department at TMC works in tandem with best practices, optimising process outcomes and ensuring patient satisfaction and safety of the environment of care and occupants. One of the prime objectives of the department is to obtain national and international accreditation for different departments and processes at TMC. The blood bank of the facility is accredited with the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH).

The Laboratory services are accredited from National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) and the hospital processes are being designed for accreditation by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) and the Joint Commission International (JCI). The blueprints of the facility have already been reviewed by Joint Commission International Consulting (JCIC) and were in coordination with international facility safety standards.

The hospital undertakes phase I/II/II clinical trials as well as laboratory and technical studies on a wide range of subjects. Collaborative research and developmental activities with some of the best academic hospitals are planned often.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has already been signed with Duke University in the US for collaboration in a wide range of activities, including clinical research as well as health information technology.

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