October 18, 2019, by Jason Feehily

Nottingham-Indonesia Collaboration in Cancer Research and Training

Nottingham-Indonesia Collaboration in Cancer Research and Training (NICCRAT) initiative: Indonesia Researchers are in Nottingham to attend a bespoke course in Molecular Diagnostics.

The Molecular Pathology Research Group, led by Professor Mohammad Ilyas, at the School of Medicine, University of Nottingham, has delivered a 4-week programme on Molecular Diagnostics for Precision Medicine: Development and Clinical Application, as part of a portfolio of activities with Indonesian Institutes.

Funded by The Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher education (RISTEKDIKTI) through Research and Innovation in Science and Technology Project (Riset-Pro) scheme, ten Indonesian delegates, led by Dr. Wien Kusharyoto from Research Centre of Biotechnology, Indonesia Institute of Science (LIPI), were in Nottingham from 21 September- 17 October 2019 for the tailor made programme. The delegation, consisted of a mixture of Scientists and Clinicians from LIPI (Indonesian Institute of Sciences), Universitas Indonesia (UI), Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) and Universitas Muhammadiyah Purwokerto (UMP). In the first week, the delegates attended the internationally renowned Molecular Diagnostics Training School and Image Analysis Training School (both delivered by the Nottingham Molecular Pathology Node (NMPN) and supported by The Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland and several industrial sponsors). During the training, they met Prof Jo Martin, President of the Royal College of Pathologists in the UK. In the following weeks, the delegates participated in the in-house tutorials (covering cancer theory, bioinformatics and experimental design) and hands-on practical sessions of molecular techniques in the lab. The course concluded with training in research governance skills and communication skills.

Prof Ilyas said “We are delighted that our Indonesian colleagues chose Nottingham for this training. It is part of a large portfolio of activities between ourselves and our colleagues in Indonesia which we hope will result in bi-directional knowledge exchange and innovations in the field of molecular pathology”.

Commenting on the course, Dr. Wien Kusharyoto, Principal Investigator, LIPI, said
“The course provides us with in-depth knowledge of the principles and methodology which could help our research in the development of new molecular diagnostics for communicable and non-communicable diseases. We would like also to develop research collaboration with the University of Nottingham, particularly in molecular diagnostics of cancer for implementation in Indonesia”.

Initiated by Ms. Susanti, current Indonesian PhD student in the research group, Prof. Ilyas has established an initiative called NICCRAT (Nottingham-Indonesia Collaboration for Cancer Research and Training) to foster research and training collaborations with counterparts in Indonesia from a large number of academic and research institutions such as LIPI, UI, UGM, UMP. There is also an industrial collaborator from the Stem Cell and Cancer Institute of Kalbe Farma, Ltd to help to translate research in to diagnostic tests.

Under NICCRAT, Prof Ilyas and his team are engaged in several activities. They have delivered inaugural training in precision medicine to around 60 academics and clinicians in Jogjakarta, Indonesia on March 2019, funded by both the Indonesia Ministry of Research, Technology and Higher Education (RISTEKDIKTI) through the BIMTEK (Bimbingan Teknik) scheme and the Asia Business Centre at University of Nottingham. Current plans are to repeat the training in 2020.

In December 2019, , hosted by UGM Pathological Anatomy Department of Faculty of Medicine, Public Health and Nursing, the NICCRAT initiative will deliver a Diagnostic Pathology Masterclass in Gastrointestinal Diseases. December 2019 will also see the start of the INDiPath (Indonesia Digital Pathology) project. In collaboration with IPAI, a Jordanian AI and technology start-up, 4 low-cost digital scanners will be deployed on 3 islands in Indonesia (Java, Sumatra and Sulawesi) allowing four pathology labs to be digitally connected to NMPN.

NICCRAT has also applied for some research grants to implement molecular diagnostic tests develops in the groups in Indonesia clinical setting. Dr. Susanna H. Hutajulu, Principal Investigator/ Medical Oncologist, UGM and one of the main partners in the NICCRAT initiative, has said
“The training programmes are a big opportunity to learn molecular diagnostic and research governance in a world class centre. Hopefully the NICCRAT initiative, bringing together many Indonesian institutions with University of Nottingham, will attract attention and support from funding bodies in both Indonesia and the UK in order to stimulate collaboration in training”.

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