Dr. Amit Verma : A Pioneer Of Personalized Cancer Medicine | CEOInsights Vendor
Dr. Amit Verma : A Pioneer Of  Personalized Cancer Medicine

Dr. Amit Verma : A Pioneer Of Personalized Cancer Medicine

 Dr.  Amit Verma ,   Founder & CEO

Dr. Amit Verma

Founder & CEO

Cancer, a centuries-old incurable disease with dismal outcomes, is a leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for millions of deaths every year. In India alone, around 14,61,427 people are estimated to have died of cancer last year. Traditionally, various treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, are offered to patients currently, but most of them fail eventually. This approach, often called the 'blanket' or conventional treatment approach, is provided based on the tumor type and staging. Developing a personalized treatment approach against this traditional 'one-size-fits-all' approach to curing patients based on their tumor molecular profiling has been the key to the success of Dr. Amit Verma (Founder & CEO, Dr. AV Cancer Institute), an award-winning medical practitioner in the field of oncology, specializing in cancer genetics. He is one of the most known molecular oncologists and cancer geneticists in the country who was trained at premier institutes in India (AIIMS, New Delhi) and the US (The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas), possessing more than two decades of experience in cancer treatment and research.

The contemporary science that Dr. Verma perfects is called 'Precision Oncology or Personalized Cancer Medicine,' which involves deep diving into tumor genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, phosphoproteomics, metabolomics, and epigenetics. Comprehending tumor biology gives insights into the mechanisms driving cancer. Targeting these mechanisms with newer drugs like target therapy and immunotherapy has shown to have better response rates, progression-free survival, and overall survival. Additionally, they bear fewer side effects as compared to chemotherapy.

Dr. Verma strongly believes that every patient should undergo molecular profiling during cancer diagnosis to find out various treatment options other than stationing on standard chemotherapy. The only thing as relentless as cancer is his commitment and dedication to fighting it through various translational and targeted approaches. CEO Insights engages in an exclusive interview with Dr. Amit Verma to explore his professional journey and latest endeavors.

Describe your learning experience from AIIMS Delhi and what are the major lessons you extracted from the institute and carry till this date in your journey?
My first exposure to cancer care and research was at my Alma mater, AIIMS. At the time of my residency, I worked on one of the toughest cancers, esophageal cancer (cancer of food pipe), where I identified biomarkers for aggressive behavior that may be useful to prognosticate the patient. I was awarded a gold medal as the best oncology resident doctor.

The art of practicing science and technology together was a gift from AIIMS, and I give all the credit to the institute. Indeed, our teachers and mentors successfully instilled in us the character of being a physician and a scientist centered on innovation and meticulosity. My research work paved the way for my higher studies in one of the best cancer centers in the world, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.
How would you define Dr. AV Cancer Institute as an organization and its current position in the market?
A state-of-art precision cancer medicine center, Dr. AV Cancer Institute of Personalized Cancer Therapy and Research, Gurgaon, provides day care and home care services along with holistic wellness programs for cancer patients. We practice the contemporary comprehensive treatment approach based on the newer science of Precision Oncology, which is based on providing the right treatment for the right patient at the right time. This approach empowers the patients and offers multiple treatment options, tailored treatment plans based on genomics, and an effective strategy for cancer prevention. With the advancement in the science behind the treatment, the survival rate is relatively better without significantly compromising the quality of life.

The institute management believes in empowering cancer patients to make choices for their treatment, and these choices are based on the contemporary science of precision oncology

What principles does the institute stand by, and how is it making a difference in the country's healthcare realm?
The institute management believes in empowering cancer patients to make choices for their treatment, and these choices are based on the contemporary science of precision oncology. The principles driving the institute include being patient-centric (focusing on the patient's need), and offering personalized (offering tailor-made healthcare services and treatment options), affordable (cost-effective and no hidden costs), and congenial (reducing hospital-associated anxiety by providing treatment with the comfort level of home) healthcare.

As the Founder & CEO, what are the fundamental factors you look into when developing effective corporate growth strategies?
As a physician and a scientist, I invest my time and effort in contemporary treatment approaches and playing an essential role in changing the paradigm in cancer treatment. I believe in innovating to bring the best treatment options through research and collaboration. I also advocate for organic growth, which is sustained and impactful. Being an ambassador for sustainable development goals and a pioneer in molecular oncology, I aim to make cancer care affordable and accessible to all eligible cancer patients. I strive to ensure that no patient is turned away from contemporary treatment just based on finances. I also conceive the responsibility of spreading awareness about precision oncology on various platforms and help to make guidelines and policies among the oncology network.

From your past experiences and industry expertise, what are the best industry practices and approaches you have infused into your services that ensure efficient patient care?
A systematic approach, which is IT enabled for patient care combined with hospitality, touching the various points of patient-doctor and patient institute interactions, is imbibed in our care system. Our staff are well-trained to give personal attention to the patient and the attendants, which contributes to building higher trust and satisfaction. We believe in handholding the patient throughout, as the journey of cancer care is a long haul.

Under your administration, what are the various innovative treatment
methods impacting patient care?
Dr. AV Cancer Institute practices precision oncology, i.e., offering personalized treatment based on molecular profiling. The institute's treatment is contemporary, with a single or combinatorial approach comprising various treatment modalities, including target therapy immunotherapy, hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. This scientific approach is enabled by high-end technologies to understand the genetic and epigenetic alterations in tumor cells that help to understand the underlying mechanism of cancerous transformation.

These technologies are not only limited to studying the genes (at the DNA level) but their effect at both RNA and protein levels. The common technologies used are Polymerase Chain Reaction (ARMS, methylation specific PCR), Sequencing (NGS and sanger), Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH), Microarray, and Karyotyping for the identification of four classes of genetic alterations, i.e., Single Nucleotide Variations (SNV), insertions and deletions, Copy Number Variations (CNV), and translocations. All this information is discussed with various oncology experts in Molecular Tumor Board to reach a treatment consensus. Few treatment options offered are beyond the conventional guidelines and are considered experimental. The patient is empowered to make choices between conventional and contemporary treatment options.

Which traits best define your leadership approach, and what guidelines or methodologies do you follow to lead your team?
I believe in leading by example and creating standards of excellence for others to follow. I have been told that I am good at inspiring people to see the possibilities of the future that lies ahead of them. Moreover, I believe in empowering everyone working with me to strengthen the team dynamics and working culture. I also ensure that I experiment and take risks to make meaningful improvements in the journey of growth while also celebrating the accomplishments of others, and hence keep the motivation level high and positive.

Where do you envision yourself in the upcoming years?
To be the leader in offering precision oncology services across all states of India and neighboring SAARC countries in the next few years.

Dr. Amit Verma, Founder & CEO, Dr. AV Cancer Institute
An award-winning Molecular Oncologist and Cancer Geneticist Dr.AmitVerma, MD (AIIMS) Gold Medalist and Fellowship in Cancer Medicine (MD Anderson Cancer Center). He is one of the country's most known molecular oncologists and cancer geneticists, possessing more than two decades of experience in cancer treatment and research.

Hobbies: Playing Chess & Golf, listening to music, and watching English action movies
Favorite Cuisine: North Indian and South Indian
Favorite Book:'Believe in Yourself' by Swami Vivekananda
Favorite Travel Destination: Dubai, Amsterdam and London

Latest Awards & Recognition:
•Awarded as the "Best Physician in the field of Precision Oncology in India 2022" at NRI Festival in association with Rejoice Foundation at Four Points by Sheraton, New Delhi
•Awarded as Good will SDG Ambassador for Good Health and Well-Being by the United Nations Assembly in association with WHO, The Commonwealth, and NITI AAYOG in 2021 at The Janpath Hotel, New Delhi.
•First Place in Multidisciplinary Tumor Board – Young Breast Cancer with BRCA Mutation at 2nd edition "Navigating Clinical conundrums in Breast cancer" in 2019 in Mumbai, India.

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