ICMR begins process for further research in the field of stem cell research and therapy
February 4, 2012
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January 30, 2012, 0800 IST – Source : PharmaBizNews
Even as the National Apex Committee for Stem Cell Research and Therapy (NAC-SCRT) has recently announced that only haematopoietic stem cell transplants for blood diseases and limbal stem cell transplants for corneal diseases can be performed as standard therapy outside of clinical trials in India, the Union health ministry has started the process for further research in the field of stem cell research and therapy.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), part of the health ministry, has invited concept proposals from scientists and clinicians working at various recognized institutions, universities and medical colleges in the country for initiating some basic as well as translational studies in the field of stem cell.
The studies will be conducted in the field of basic research and translational research. Under the basic research, the study will focus on stem cell biology of human embryonic stem cells (hESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) – induction and maintenance of stemness, mechanism and regulation of development and differentiation during growth and development, etc.
Under the translational research, the focus will be on ?Developing well characterised GMP grade hESC and iPSC lines; Establishing well characterised lineage specific cell lines in Xenogenic free media and human use grade reagents; preclinical studies on safety and efficacy of stem cells/products derived from different sources in appropriate models; preclinical toxicological evaluation of stem cells derived from different sources; ?Identification of new markers for stem cells / cell lines/progenitor cells/lineage specific cells from different sources; development of tests for immunogenicity and tumourogenicity; development of techniques for traceability of the transplanted stem cells/progenitor cells – markers and imaging etc; application of stem cells for drug development; and ?use of stem cells for gene therapy.
Besides, ICMR will initiate phase I/II clinical trials on human participants for well justified indications and duly wetted and approved clinical protocols; and use of nanotechnology in tissue engineering.
The ICMR’s initiative in this regard is significant as though the stem cell research holds great promise for improving human health by control of degenerative disease and restoration of damage to organs by various injuries; at the same time it also raises several safety, ethical and social issues.