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NCRM ties up with Astec Inc for expanding research in haematopoietic stem cells, NK cells
Thursday, June 04, 2009 08:00 IST
Peethaambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai

The Chennai based Indo-Japanese joint venture institute, NCRM (Nichi-In Centre for Regenerative Medicine) has entered into an agreement with Astec Inc, Fukuoka, Japan, the Developers of High-end Stem cell Processing & Expansion Systems and Devices.

Speaking from Japan, Dr Samuel JK Abraham, director of NCRM said that as per the agreement, the two companies would jointly conduct research in the expansion of Haematopoietic stem cells and natural killer (NK) cells to enhance the benefits of Immunotherapy for cancer. In addition to the research, they will together develop and standardize Devices for Zero Gravity Cell Culture to study the effects of Age- related Damages in space (open area) for future application in managing Treatment.
NCRM has recently established a GMP Laboratory in Malaysia and plans to establish another one in India provided some corporate hospitals or healthcare institutions meet the financial side. In the Malaysian facility, 1000 cancer patients can access the benefit of immunotherapy.

He further said the institute has been pioneer in Autologous Immune Enhancement Therapy (AIET) for cancer in which patients' own NK cells and T-Lymphocytes are used to destroy cancer cells. The expertise of NCRM in AIET will be further enhanced by this tie up as the culture bags developed by Astec Inc, will provide a gas permeable membrane based - three dimensional cell culture technology by which the longevity of the NK cells improve, as proven in earlier studies.

He explained that this tie-up would help the cancer patients undergoing immunotherapy using their own NK cells for better outcome of the treatment. In the long term, this would pave way for zero gravity stem cell culture experiments in the space, which, when found to have beneficial effects such as prevention of damages due to aging, may revolutionize the approach to prevention of diseases and treatment.

About Astec Inc, he said it has been specializing in high end gadgets for stem cell culture and characterization including CO2 incubators. Recently it has completed four cell-based technological studies such as development of Gas Delivery Optimizing, Permeable Membrane-technology, Non-invasive External sensing of Cell culture media -technology and Web based Incubator Monitoring and Alarm systems, and Remote, three dimensional image monitoring of cells under culture-technology.

These accomplishments have a synergy with the nanomaterial and hydrogel based stem cell expansion and tissue engineering expertise of NCRM and when these two combined, it will pave way for numerous applications in regenerative medicine. NCRM has been doing research in India and in Japan since 2000 on developing biological contamination free, undifferentiated expansion of one's own stem cells for treating various diseases.

- Courtesy Pharma Biz , 4th June 2009 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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