FIGHTING THE ODDS
Dr ANU RANGARAJAN
One of the foremost experts on cancer stem cells in the country, Dr Anu Rangarajan, 35, has a host of academic and professional achievements under her belt. She holds a PhD from the National Centre of Biological Sciences, Bangalore and a post doctoral fellowship from the Robert Weinberg Lab, MIT. “Despite decades of academic research, we are yet to understand cancer completely. It still manages to catch us off guard. Even my mother has battled cancer, so I know first-hand the trauma and uncertainty associated with the disease,” says Dr Rangarajan. Today, she not only teaches at the Department of Molecular Reproduction, Development and Genetics in the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore but has also published significant research work on cancer. “Cancer steam cells are in the limelight in the research field. These are a subpopulation of cancer cells that can generate a new tumour. As they are drug resistant, these cells are often left behind during chemotherapy and eventually lead to a relapse. Studies are now trying to determine how to isolate and eliminate these cells,” explains Rangarajan. “The next step is to foster more industry and academia interaction. Doctors and researchers need to work hand in hand to battle the disease,” adds Rangarajan.