Friday, October 31, 2008 08:00 IST
Peethambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai
The Chennai centre of Nichi-In Centre for Regenerative Medicine (NCRM) will start its second batch of the web-based Training Programme in Regenerative Medicine (TPRM) with the support of the Toronto University, in May 2009. The Japan-based training centre also plans to open its Nichi-Asia Centre in Kaulalumpur in January to extent the programme across the Asian Continent, according to Dr Samuel JK Abraham, director, NCRM-Chennai centre.
NCRM is an Indo-Japanese joint venture Institute, carrying out research, training and clinical applications-protocol development in Regenerative Medicine based on cell therapeutics. The Chennai chapter of the Centre has started the programme for the first time in India in August this year and it is the first offshore programme for TPRM conducted by Toronto University. Earlier, Dr Samuel JK Abraham and Dr Gary Levy, director of the TPRM and of the Multi-organ Transplant Programme of the University of Toronto Hospital, together signed a Memorandum of Understanding on this offshore project.
The first batch of this international level comprehensive training, which is being done free of cost this year, comprises ten participants including five clinical doctors and five scientists in Cell Biology & Stem Cell research, and the class is going on with full attendance, he said. All the participants are coming to the Chennai centre at Vadapalani on every Thursday evening to attend the two hour long video-conferencing which starts at 6.30 PM (IST). Lectures of eminent professors from the University are transmitted via web casting from the University campus at Toronto.
The course which is done in collaboration with the Toronto University will be having an examination at the end of the period which falls in April next year. Those who complete the online course with full attendance and perform well in the examination will be awarded a certificate by the Stem Cell Network, Canada or University of Toronto, Dr Samuel said. However, the second batch will be conducted by charging a nominal sum towards fee as the Centre is equipping all the facilities required for the advanced level course.
The doctor said Toronto University is the first Institute in the world where stem cells were first discovered in 1961. To its credit, the University has so far produced 10 Nobel Laureates.
On finishing the first batch of the programme, the Chennai centre will choose two scholars to visit Toronto for hands on training. They will get chances for presenting their research papers in the international conferences on regenerative medicines.
Regarding the programme Dr Samuel said the purpose of this initiative is to encourage a trans-disciplinary, integrative approach to health research through the training of a new generation of researchers capable of combining various approaches in devising innovative solutions for the research and treatment of complex medical problems.
Quoting Dr Gary Levy, he said, there are a few scientists and practitioners in regenerative medicine, and no inclusive training programme exists in this important field in Canada or anywhere in the world. Starting from organ failure to repair mechanisms, stem cell biology, ethics and translation, this course will cover extensively the various areas of regenerative medicine, he added.