Background of Cancer Research Unit
Associated Medical Sciences (AMS)-Cancer Research Unit (CRU) or AMS-CRU, Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Chiang Mai University, Thailand was established in 2016 for the faculty members who interested in cancer research ranging from basic research (both in vitro and in vivo) to clinical investigation in cancer patients, cancer screening, precision diagnosis, etc. Research themes of AMS-CRU are sub-divided into different categories according to the field of interests which includes complementary and alternative medicine (medicinal plants and herbs), prediction of drug resistance in cancers, molecular imaging in cancers, cancer stem cells, and cancer biomarkers. We also focus on better understanding carcinogenesis and biology of cancers as well as the development new drug, cancer diagnosis, and therapeutic approaches for better cancer treatment efficiency.
In AMS-CMU, researchers from various fields are encouraged to work in collaboration in order to expand their expertise and produce sustainable development golds (SDGs) that related to the Thai government policy along with the National Economic and Social Development plans (the eighth plan, 1997-2001). Cancer research is included in the first Research Strategy of Thai research government, producing efficiency and capability for social development. This strategy aims to improve basic knowledges for public security in Thailand by empowering social strengthening, life quality improvement, and human happiness. Moreover, our research is associated with the third Research Strategy of Thai research government, which includes health promotion, emerging disease prevention, therapy, nursing, physiological and psychiatric rehabilitations, self-care for health, and consumer protection.
Currently, AMS-CRU is a multidisciplinary research group recruiting faculty members from various divisions and departments. The establishment of this research unit aims to provide the platform for staffs from various cancer research disciplines to work in collaboration and develop a good relationship for better scientific discovery with the goal of improving the overall cancer research strength of the Faculty of AMS. Moreover, the AMS-CMU members are also encouraged to further expand their research networks and collaborations with other researchers from various institutes and universities both nationally and internationally.
The current research themes in AMS-CRU consist of molecular biology and genetic study, the development of diagnostic tools and cancer therapy, translational research, and palliative care after cancer treatments. These cancer research themes were adopted from the cancer research meeting between the health science research groups at the Faculty of Medicine, Chiang Mai University on February 29, 2016, led by Prof. Dr. Kom Sukontason. According to the most prevalence of cancers in the northern part of Thailand, which included lung cancer, cancers in women (gynecology oncology), leukemia, pediatric oncology and the research interest of researchers, research themes are sub-categorized as followed:
- Biomarkers at cellular level (in situ), cytokine
- Functional level of protein array
- Cancer stem cells, cancer drug resistance, and relapse mechanisms
Establishment of the cancer research groups aims to provide academic strength to Chiang Mai University, these research groups include:
- Research in molecular cell biology of cancers (cancer biomarkers related to cancer therapy and genetic causes of cancers, especially in lung cancer)
- Diagnosis development including molecular imaging that related to clinical and molecular diagnosis
- Drug regimen development at pre-clinical level or mechanistic study in animal models
- Clinical research and patient cares
- Alternative treatment regimens, which includes plasma therapy and food supplementation (nutrition)
It is the mission of the faculty of AMS in concordance with the policy of the national university, to help improving social community’s health and solving local issues leading to an international standard of health outcomes. Thus, AMS-CRU was officially established to strengthen the research capabilities of academic staffs and researchers to move toward becoming the research excellence in cancers and promoting the overall development of Thailand.
Main objectives of AMS-Cancer Research Unit
- 1. To initiate the establishment of cancer research teams among faculty members of AMS as a leader group of cancer research in Chiang Mai University
- 2. To facilitate the establishment of multidisciplinary research project in order to encourage working in collaboration among research groups from different departments
- 3. To support cancer research activities for sustainable development of good health and well-being for Thai people in social and community in the future
- 4. To gain research grants from the national or international research funding organizations for the development of research at faculty level, university level, and the international levels
CRU members have specialties in cancer research skill and health care providing skill of different professional areas including medical technology (AMS-MT-CRU), radiotherapy (AMS-RT-CRU), physical therapy (AMS-PT-CRU), and occupational therapy (AMS-OT-CRU). The cancer research skills of the faculty members consist of basic cancer research knowledge, applied research in cancers, cancer diagnosis and special diagnosis, cancer prevention, drug resistance in cancer, precision medicine for cancers, molecular imaging probes specific to cancers, cancer drug developments, and complementary and alternative medicine, etc.
Of particular interest is the complementary and alternative medicine, which is very popular among Thai population and has been included in the Thailand Research strategic plan (No. 1) and sub-strategic plan (No.4) of Development and protection of wisdom of Thai traditional medicine, folk medicine, alternative medicine, and medicinal plants (herbs).