Saturday, June 19, 2010

Stem cell hospital to treat osteoarthritis, foot ulcers, heart disease coming up in Bangalore

A dedicated hospital for stem cell therapies will soon come up in Bangalore, south India.

International Stemcell Services Limited (ISSL) is in the process of setting up a dedicated 10–bed stem cell hospital in the high-tech city of Bangalore, reports said.

International Stemcell Services Limited will provide stem cell as the first line of therapy for osteoarthritis, critical leg ischemia, foot ulcers, diabetic neuropathy, non healing wounds, spinal chord injury, ischemic heart disease and cancer among others.

ISSL already has generated enough data on the definitive use of stem cells for certain disease. These data is backed by solid scientific proof reflected through its clinical trials to further substantiate the success rate of the recovery, according to Dr. Jyothsna Rao, research director, ISSL.

The company is now in the process of finalizing land in North Bangalore close to the city’s international airport.

It may take anywhere between 8 to 16 months to commission the 10-bed facility. The capacity in terms of number of beds will be increased over the years.

ISSL’s stem cells therapy has gained considerable confidence among specialists in the Western world. The stem cell service provider hopes to offer treatments in India at an affordable cost.

So far, ISSL has been working with hospitals in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai and has managed to rope in doctors to help identify cases for stem cells therapy. These include for conditions like foot ulcer
resulting out of diabetes, chronic kidney failure, osteoporosis, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), and vascular diseases.

ISSL has allocated a portion of the Rs. 50 crore to open up centres of excellence in stem cells in addition to assisting in creation of Departments of Regenerative Medicine in existing hospitals.

International Stem cell Services is claimed to be the first company in India providing with the option of stem cells banking both umbilical cord blood banking as well as cord blood Stem Cell Banking For
Regenerative Medicine.

ISSL has the capability to harvest and bank stem cells from a number of other sources including the bone marrow and fat.

ISSL’s therapy center is located in St. Theresa’s Hospital at Bangalore, India. In addition to state-of-the-art operating room and in-patient facilities, the center also houses the state-of-the-art Philips Endura C-arm with 1K2 imaging and BodySmart software, which allows the doctors to deliver stem cells directly and specifically to the site where they are needed.

The C-arm also has a wide-ranging capabilities and allows multiple types of procedures including Therapy Centerangiograms and embolisation.

Government of India has already drawn up a plan to effectively review and monitor the way stem cell research being conducted in the country, according to reports.

An effective surveillance on the highly complex stem cell research is yet to be in practice in India even though the country has already worked out the fundamental guidelines for stem cell research more than two years ago.

Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) – the apex body regulating medical research in India –and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the ministry of science and technology, government of India announced the guidelines for stem cell research and therapy way back in 2007.

These guidelines were set aside due to the absence of laws specific to the issue. Government bodies need to spell out clear cut procedures for storing stem cells.

India is yet to formulate norms for stem cell banking and storage procedures.Stem cell banking in India is yet to come under a regulatory framework.

Though the ministry has initialized the process, certain technical hitches the occurred midway made it lag for long, sources said.

Now that the health ministry has come forth with a renewed vigour, a National Apex Committee for Stem Cell Research to prescribe stringent procedures for souring and use of stem cells by research institutions in the country could soon be reality.

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