Address National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis,
No.1, Mayor Sathiyamoorthy Road,
Chetpet, Chennai - 600 031,
No of employees:
The National Institute for Research in Tuberculosis [Formerly Tuberculosis Research Centre (TRC)], a permanent institute under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), is an internationally recognized institution for Tuberculosis (TB) research. It is a Supranational Reference Laboratory and a WHO Collaborating Centre for TB Research and Training. Recently, an International Centre for Excellence in Research (ICER) in collaboration with NIH was established at the Centre.
The Centre (formerly known as the Tuberculosis Chemotherapy Centre) was set up in Madras in 1956 as a 5-year project, under the joint auspices of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the Government of Tamil Nadu, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the British Medical Research Council (BMRC). The objective of the Centre was to develop studies designed to provide information on the mass domiciliary application of chemotherapy in the treatment of pulmonary TB. It started its activities with 8 international staff members belonging to the WHO and a team of national staff members drawn for ICMR and the Government of Tamil Nadu under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Wallace Fox of the BMRC.
The Centre, which had an initial lease of life of five years and had faced the threat of closure in 1961, has moved from strength to strength. Dr. Hugh Stott who succeeded Dr. Fox as WHO Senior Medical Officer in 1961 and had ably guided the research activities of the Centre during the following 6 years. Dr. N. K. Menon, who assumed charge in July 1964, was the first national Director. Dr. C. G. Pandit and Prof. V. Ramalingaswami, of the Indian Council of Medical Research, Dr. P.V. Bengamin, Adviser in Tuberculosis to the Government of India, Col. Sangham Lal, Director of Medical Services, Tamil Nadu State and Dr. C. Mani, Regional Director of the World Health Organization, South East Asia Region, played key roles in placing the Centre on a firm footing in Madras. Dr. N.K.Menon was succeeded by Dr. S. P. Tripathy in September 1969, Dr. R Prabhakar in1983 and Dr.P.R. Narayanan in 1996.
In 1964 the Centre was made a permanent establishment under the ICMR. In conformity with the general policy of the WHO regarding the provision of technical expertise, the WHO staff members were withdrawn as and when national counterparts were trained. The last WHO bacteriologist and the last WHO medical officer left the Centre towards the end of 1965. In April 1966, the staff members initially employed by the Government of Tamil Nadu were absorbed by the ICMR. The last WHO Senior Medical Officer was withdrawn in July 1966.
With increasing expertise gained by the national staff, a gradual transfer of the technical and operational direction took place. From 1956 to 1969, the Centre's research work was guided and assessed by a Project Committee consisting of the Director General and 3 other representatives of the ICMR, the Director of Medical Services, Tamil Nadu, a WHO representative, a BMRC representative and the Direcotr of the Centre. With the departure of the last WHO Senior Medical Officer in 1966, the scientific direction of the research at the Centre became entirely a national responsibility.
From 1970 onwards, a Scientific Advisory Committee, comprising of eminent Indian scientists representing various discipines and prominent workers in the field of tuberculosis has been guiding and reviewing the Centre's resarch work. The last WHO staff member, a laboratory technologist, was withdrawn in January 1970. The WHO, however, continues to maintain active interest in the Centre's research schemes, and provides expertise and supplies not available in India.
Taking note of the increasing concern over the ethical considerations involved in conducting clinical trials in human beings, an Ethical Committee was constituted in July 1976. All the research programmes at the Centre which involve patients are cleared by the Ethical Committee before being implemented.
In 1978, the Government of Tamil Nadu generously granted about 1 hectare of vacant land in the campus to the council on long lease. The four storeyed second block was then built with ICMR funds in that year.
The staff of the two ICMR projects, Tuberculosis Prevention Trial and Leprosy Prevention Trial were merged with the TRC as the "Epidemiology Unit" of TRC.
In keeping with the wide sphere of activites of the Centre, the Indian Council of Medical Research in 1978 renamed the Tuberculosis Chemotherapy Centre as the "TUBERCULOSIS RESEARCH CENTRE" .
The TRC also had a subsidiary unit functioning in the Lady Wellington Hospital, Bangalore in collaboration with the National Institute of Tuberculosis. This centre was established in 1978 and was manned by a medical officer, a statistician and nursing staff. Intake to clinical trials of TRC was supplemented by this centre. In November of 1983, the Bangalore centre was shifted to Madurai and located in the chest clinic of the Government Rajaji Hospital, Madurai. This centre has been strengthened over the years and currently has about 40 staff members consisting of doctors, statisticians , medical social workers, lab technicians nursing staff and other supporting staff. A significant proportion of patients admitted to clinical trials are from the Madurai unit.