Chennai to become stem cell research hub of Asia
Kyoto university-iPS scientist proposes tie-up with NCRM
Bharatidasan University signs MoU for PhD programme in stem cell research
Chennai, Oct 11. Dr. Tomoki Aoyama, renowned stem cell scientist and a member of the team that developed iPS cells (Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells) of Frontier Institute, Kyoto University, Japan, proposed to start a tie-up for a joint research with Chennai based NCRM (Nichi-In Centre for Regenerative Medicine), that would make the Chennai institute, the first in the country to start the iPS research
Stem cell research using Embryonic Stem(ES) cells has been a centre for ethical controversy which have been overcome with the discovery of iPS which doesn't use ES cells rather the adult cells are induced to become pluripotent (Capability to become any kind of cell) as the ES cell. This is the latest hot topic in the field of regenerative medicine with high hopes of paving way to discovery of cell based drugs in large scale in the future.
The third anniversary of NCRM in which Dr Aoyama made his presentation on clinical application of bone marrow stem cells and possibilities of iPS, also witnessed signing of MoU for starting a PhD programme in stem cell research with Bharatidasan University by the Vice-Chancellor Dr.M.Ponnavaiko and the announcement of starting up a centre for Regenerative Medicine (NiSCELL) in Kualalumpur, Malaysia in November, in technical collaboration with NCRM. Dato Dr.A.Krishnamoorthy (CEO, NiSCELL) invited the Indian technical experts help their venture in Malaysia. These developments we hope would make Chennai, the stem cell research hub of Asia, said Dr.Samuel Abraham, Director, NCRM.
Explaining the unique advantages of India, Dr.Abraham said that the availability of large number of biotech, life sciences and medicine graduates, Healthcare personnel with vast experience in handling wide spectrum of diseases if utilized in synergy with the technology available with institutes of reputation all over the world, would confer India, a strategic position in this field. NCRM already has academic, research and technological collaborations with University of Toronto where stem cells were first discovered and several Japanese and Indian institutes. Yamanashi University, Chuo, Japan, Kawamura Institute, Chiba, Japan and Acharya Nagarjuna University, Guntur, India are a few to mention.
Appreciating the initiatives taken by NCRM in indo-Japan collaborations, the Consul General of Japan Mr.Kazuo Minagawa said NCRM is one of the best models of Indo-Japan collaboration in high-tech research area. He said that the research and technological strengths of Japanese scientists when combined with the clinical and technical skills of the Indian physicians and researchers, it would be a win-win for both the countries.
The Vice-Chancellor of Bharathidasan University Dr.M.Ponnavaikko said that
the medical faculty in India should also involve themselves in research and with the MoU signed today, a platform has been set for them and the university is open for the clinicians to join in research as a stem cell research facility would be established in the university campus with the technological assistance of NCRM and a PhD programme would be started in this specialty.
Earlier the III Fujio Cup Quiz, an exclusive quiz on stem cells was conducted which was participated by students of medicine and biotech from the southern states (TN, AP, KA, MH). The first prize and the Fujio cup went to the team from Manipal Institute of Regenerative Medicine, Bangalore and second prize to Stanley Medical College, Chennai. A symposium in the evening had presentations on clinical studies and research on stem cells including a project for establishing world's first corneal endothelial stem cell bank (CESBANK) and? cell based therapies for retinal degenerative diseases by Dr.S.Natarajan, Chairman, Research and Academic Committee of All India Ophthalmology Society.