Institute of Cytology & Preventive Oncology (ICPO) which was initially established as Cytology Research Centre ( CRC ) by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in 1979, came into the existence in 1989 when CRC was elevated to the level of Institute. ICPO was instituted with the main aim of promoting research in the field of cancers that are most prevalent in India with an emphasis on their early detection and prevention. The thrust areas of research include precancer and cancer of the uterine cervix and breast in women. Multidisciplinary studies involving epidemiological, behavioral, clinical, cytomorphological, cytogenetic, biochemical, virological, immunological and molecular biological aspects are being undertaken in order to understand the natural history, biological behaviour and mechanisms of carcinogenesis. ICPO has since made significant contributions in the field of cervical cancer research. The concept of clinical downstaging, visual inspection of cervix with selective cytology screening and development of novel diagnostic approaches for screening HPV and other cancer causing and cancer suppressor genes have been introduced for early detection of cervical cancer. Transcriptional control of viral gene expression and preparatory work on HPV vaccine, analysis of breast cancer susceptibility genes are some of the major research areas being undertaken. ICPO is also promoting human resource development through in-service training, workshops, Ph.D. and M.D. program and referral services in the field. The institute has evolved as a National Reference Centre for HPV and cervical cancer and provides specialized diagnostic referral services.