Dr. Kamal Ranadive: Revolutionizing Medicine Through Research and Practice

Dr. Kamal Ranadive: Revolutionizing Medicine Through Research and Practice


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  • Source: Microbioz India

  • Date: 02 Jan,2024

In 1917, Kamal Ranadive was given birth to in Pune, India, where it was not normal to have a girl student in the sciences at Fergusson College. Luckily for Ranadive, her decision to go to college was supported by her father who happened to be a lecturer in the biology department. Subsequently, she proceeded from Fergusson College with an undergraduate degree that she had been awarded in 1934 and moved on to Bombay University for a cytology Ph.D.

But she had never stopped being interested in biology despite the advice of her parents on going into medicine. Therefore, she went into biomedical research and became famous for discovering many viruses causing tumors. She made one of the earliest findings about breast cancer having a strong genetic component. She also worked on Mycobacterium leprae which is responsible for leprosy and contributed towards development of its vaccine.

The first Indian women scientist is Kamal Ranadive. She was one of the first people who identified how hormones connect with cancerous cells and viral infections leading to cancer development in human beings. She headed the founding group of IWSA (Indian Women Scientists Association) as well as investigating bacteria causing leprosy that resulted into a leprosy vaccine. Nevertheless, most of us do not know Dr. Kamal Ranadive.

Today would have been this unsung STEM hero’s 104th birthday; Google is paying homage through a doodle and has finally brought her story out into the open, albeit belatedly. The experiences of women like Dr.Kamal Ranadive are crucial for sharing with upcoming generations in light of today’s hot debates about diversity, STEM fields, and empowerment of women.

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The Life and Legacy of Dr. Kamal Ranadive: Pioneering Medical Innovator

Afterwards Kamal Ranadive came back to India following postdoctoral training at George Gey’s Johns Hopkins University Hospital ((who created HeLa cell line) and founded the nation’s first tissue culture lab at the Indian Cancer Research Center. She made substantial contributions to our understanding of animal models in cancer pathophysiology. One of the first people who noticed the connection between hormones and tumor viruses in relation to cancer was Dr Kamal Ranadive. She also continued researching on the leprosy germs, which eventually led to a vaccine for the disease.

Involving Everyone In Science

As early as 1970s, Kamal joined other scientists in discussing about their social obligation to the less privileged female population who were facing road blocks in furthering careers in scientific field for a variety of reasons like women being forced by patriarchal customs to quit working and becoming ‘housewives’, besides being referred to as an old boys’ only club. They came to the conclusion that change wouldn’t be possible unless they formed a group of women scientists with similar goals. Thus, twelve founding members from various scientific institutes covering a wide range of scientific fields came together under the leadership of Dr.Ranadive and formed Indian Women Scientists Association (IWSA) in 1972.

Dr Kamal Ranadive & Cancer Research

Upon receiving her medical degree with honors, Dr. Ranadive began her medical profession driven by a strong sense of purpose. She chose to focus on oncology specifically since it was a field that required more highly qualified experts than any other. Nothing could stop her, even though it was visually and emotionally overwhelming for her first experiences receiving cancer care.

As a newcomer, Dr. Ranadive concentrated on understanding the intricacies of cancer therapies. Her research in cancer biology and genetics led to numerous published papers, which earned her respect from her peers. Indeed, throughout her professional life, she was dedicated to finding innovative ways of helping patients suffering from cancer.

Dr Kamal Ranadive: The Ranadive Institute for Cancer Research.

The vision of Dr. Kamal Ranadive reached beyond the confines of the hospital. She founded the Ranadive Institute for Cancer Research (RICR) in 1992 with the intention of advancing cancer patient care, treatment, and research. This endeavor emerged in response to the urgent requirement for a holistic strategy in cancer treatment that integrates contemporary technology with empathetic and patient-focused values.

RICR evolved into an innovation and excellence hub in science. It did not only attract distinguished professionals but also assisted families and patients affected by cancer. The institute has been able to pioneer many new advances in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers under Dr. Ranadive’s watch. Her dedication never wavered hence this saw the creation of state of art treatments that have improved the lives of cancer patients significantly.

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