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Chennai institute to offer India's first PhD in regenerative medicine

Chennai, April 21 : The Nichi-in Centre for Regenerative Medicine (NCRM), a Chennai-based research centre, Monday announced the country's first doctorate (PhD) programme in stem cell research in collaboration with the Acharya Nagarjuna University.

The NCRM is part of Nichi-In Biosciences group, an Indo-Japanese healthcare joint venture that has three joint research projects in India. Its Chennai centre makes available to hospitals cell therapy-based treatment after research.

Announcing the Ph.D programme the institution said, "The enrolled clinical doctors and scientists would jointly accomplish research in liver stem cells and haemato-poietic stem cells," to find a cure for several diseases "which were beyond the realm of a definitive treatment as of now".

The programme will be a three-year course and NCRM will give a stipend to all scholars, NCRM director Samuel J.K. Abraham told the media.

"Regenerative medicine is an evolving speciality in medicine in which stem cells, progenitor cells and mature cells with regenerative capability are used to treat diseases," Abraham explained.

"This is a unique speciality in which scientists of stem cell biology have to work in coordination with the clinical doctors. Doctors specialising in regenerative medicine should have a thorough understanding of all medical specialities," he added.

Qualification for admission to the programme would be a post graduate degree in life sciences and veterinary medicine, with cell culture experience and graduation in medicine.

The Ph.D degree would be awarded by the Acharya Nagarjuna University.

Set up in 2006, the NCRM is an institute carrying out research, training (both for scientists and physicians) clinical applications-protocol development in regenerative medicine based on cell therapeutics.

It has successfully established a protocol for immune enhancement therapy for cancer and treated a diabetic patient with bone marrow stem cells, in collaboration with two major hospitals.

- Courtesy New Kerala.com, 21st Apr 2008 issue.
*"Nichi" stands for Japan and "In" stands for India. This institute started on an Indo-Japan collaboration now has spreaded further with global alliances
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