She was also among the first to recognise how susceptibility to cancer is linked to tumour-causing interactions between hormones and viruses. Trained as a botanist, before turning her attention to tissue culture, Ranadive returned to India after a postdoctoral stint at Johns Hopkins University Hospital. Back in her homeland, she established the country’s first tissue culture laboratory at the Indian Cancer Research Centre. The lab’s renown in the field was due, in part, to Ranadive’s talent for recognising scientific talent and her efforts to encourage researchers to work in various areas of cancer biology. Ranadive also contributed to the development of a leprosy vaccine through her research into the leprosy-causing Mycobacterium leprae bacterium. With the goal of promoting public knowledge of science, especially among women and children, she founded the Indian Women Scientists’ Association (IWSA). After retirement, Ranadive worked to improve the health of women and children in Maharashtra’s rural communities by providing health and nutrition education, and by training women as healthcare workers.
Uncovering the link between viruses and cancer
Giants in History: Ground-breaking cancer researcher Kamal Jayasing Ranadive (8 November 1917 – 11 April 2001) advanced the understanding of the causes of leukaemia, breast cancer and oesophageal cancer through the use of animal models.