Govt constitutes National Apex Committee for monitoring stem cell research
March 22, 2011, 0800 IST – Source : Pharmabiz News
The Union health ministry has constituted the much awaited National Apex Committee for Stem Cell Research and Therapy (NAC-SCRT) for effectively reviewing and monitoring the stem cell research in the country. Dr Alok Srivastava, haematologist, Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore will be the chairman of the committee.
The Department of Health Research (DHR), an arm of the union health ministry, has issued an order in this regard. Dr Avinash Bishey, cancer biologist, former director CRI (TMH), Mumbai will be the alternative chairman of the NAC.
Other expert members of the 12-member committee include Dr Narendra Mehra, immno-geneticist, AIIMS, New Delhi; Dr Jyotsna Dhawan, Dean, SCSRM, Bangalore; Dr Mitradas Panickar, neurobiologist, NCBS, Bangalore; Dr Rajeev Dhawan, legal expert, Supreme Court, New Delhi; Dr Shashi Wadhva, developmental biologist, AIIMS, New Delhi; Dr Kamini Rao, gyanaecologist/ART expert, Bangalore; Dr Amita Singh, social scientist, JNU, Delhi; Dr Alka Sharma, scientist-E, DBT, Delhi; Dr Geeta Jotwani, scientist-D, ICMR, New Delhi; and Dr Vijay Kumar, scientist-F, ICMR who will be the member-secretary of the NAC-SCRT.
The NAC will be a multidisciplinary body with a secretariat at ICMR which will have two main functions: oversee, monitoring and policy functions; and review of specific controversial or ethically more sensitive research proposals. The committee will have the responsibility to examine the scientific, technical, ethical, legal and social issues in the area of stem cell based research and therapy.
The committee will have the responsibility to examine scientific, technical, ethical, legal and social issues in the area of stem cell based research and therapy in the country. All institutions involved in any type of stem cell research and therapy shall be registered with the NAC through Institutional Committee for Stem Cell Research and Therapy (IC-SCRT).
The NAC will set up standards for safety and quality, quality control, procedures for collection and its schedule, processing or preparation, expansion, differentiation, preservation for storage, removal from storage to assure quality and/or sterility of human tissue, prevention of infectious contamination or cross contamination during processing, carcinogenicity and xenotransplantation.
The constitution of NAC-SCRT is a significant step by the government as the area of stem cell research is new and is associated with rapid scientific developments and complicated ethical, social and legal issues. So, it requires extra care and expertise in scientific and ethical evaluation of research proposals in the area of stem cells.