Stem cells and regenerative medicine has emerged as a new and most exciting field of life science in view of its potential clinical applications.
The classical definition of a stem cell requires that it possess two properties:
Self-renewal: the ability to go through numerous cycles of cell division while maintaining the undifferentiated state.
Potency: the capacity to differentiate into specialised cell types.
The ability of stem cells to self-renew and give rise to subsequent generations with variable degrees of differentiation capacities, offers significant potential for generation of tissues that can potentially replace diseased and damaged areas in the body, with minimal risk of rejection and side effects.
Keeping in view the therapeutic applications of these cells, the DBT has identified this area as one of its thrust areas since 2001.
The overall aim is to promote basic, early and late translational research in the area of stem cell and regenerative medicine in the country.
- The road map for stem cell research has been broadly categorized into: basic research; pre-clinical and clinical research; industry-academia partnership programme, capacity building; and formulation of an appropriate regulatory framework.
- Programmes are being implemented on all aspects of embryonic, adult and induced pluripotent stem cells; pre-clinical and clinical research;
- Currently, over 40 institutions, hospitals and industry are engaged in research all over the country.
- A few human ESC lines have been generated in some of the institutions in the country and deposited in UK Stem Cell Bank. These cell lines are being used by the national and international researchers for research purpose;
- A separate Task Force on “Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine” has been constituted to consider the proposals on their scientific merit;
- A system has been created to establish processes to formulate clinical research protocol, review and monitor the human studies. Following this model, phase I/II clinical trials have been implemented on acute myocardial infarction, acute ischemic stroke and critical limb ischemia.
- An institute of “Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine” has been established at Bangalore. CMC-DBT Centre for Stem Cell Research CSCR at CMC, Vellore is a translational unit of inStem, Bangalore;
- Guidelines for “Stem Cell Research and Therapy” have been formulated jointly by the Department of Biotechnology and Indian Council of Medical Research. Based on the feedback received during the public debates (region-wise), the document has been revised accordingly.
- National Apex Committee for Stem Cell Research and Therapy (NAC-SCRT) has been established by the Government.
Genesis and implementation
Significant milestones have been achieved in certain areas…
- Adult stem cells
- Embryonic stem cells
- Pre-clinical studies
- Clinical Research
- Human Resource Development
- Institutional Development
- Regulatory Framework – Guidelines for stem cell research
Task Force on Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine
Dr Alka Sharma,
Phone : 0091-11-24363699;
Programme officerDr. Niloo Srivastava