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Banking on Stem Cells

Banking on Stem Cells

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Published by Sudhir
Stem Cells
Stem Cells

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Published by: Sudhir on Jun 25, 2014
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06/25/2014

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3/23/2014Banking on stem cells - Liveminthttp://www.livemint.com/Specials/Vf7ErM0PGmn9VkRoIArGvI/Banking-on-stem-cells.html1/4
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In its attempt to make cord blood banking available for middle-class families, LifeCell,India’s largest accredited stem cell banking firm, has reduced the charge (for storingstem cells for 21 years) to Rs19,990 from Rs70,000 with an additional annual fee of Rs3,500. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint
New Delhi:
 One of the first decisions Shivangini Chaudhury took as amother-to-be in 2012 was to opt for cord blood banking. However, thedecision to freeze stem cells—cord blood is a rich source of stem cells—was not informed by research. She did not know how exactly it would helpher child. Rather, wishing to do whatever she could for the unborn baby,the decision was an emotional one.Manisha Jain, pregnant with her second child in October, pondered over the option for a while before deciding against it, for the second time. “A lotof the information is contradictory and the ethical implications (of how cordbanks market themselves) concern me. Most stem cell banks market theservice as an insurance, to almost mean that if you don’t opt for it, you arealready bad parents—even before the child has arrived,” she said.Whether or not to store cord blood is one of the first tests of parenthoodyoung Indian couples tackle these days. Cord blood banks offer to freezeand store the baby’s stem cells for up to 20 years, during which they can beused in medical emergencies.For many would-be parents in India—like Chaudhury—it becomes anemotional decision because of the hard-sell surrounding cord blood banks
FIRST PUBLISHED: TUE, DEC 03 2013. 12 05 AM IST
HOME» SPECIALS
Banking on stem cells
Stem cells industry is setting itself the target of going from 2 per 1,000 to 5 per 1,000 babies over the next 2-3 years using aggressive awareness campaigns
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3/23/2014Banking on stem cells - Liveminthttp://www.livemint.com/Specials/Vf7ErM0PGmn9VkRoIArGvI/Banking-on-stem-cells.html3/4
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Banks. According to Abhaya, private stem cell bankers across India addmore than 50,000 clients every year. As a result, the industry is setting itself the target of going from two per 1,000 to five per 1,000 babies over the nexttwo-three years using aggressive awareness campaigns.However, like other new sectors in health, the stem cell industry, dominatedby private companies, remains largely unregulated. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has only a draft set of guidelines for stem cellresearch. Since no laws govern stem cell banking in India, most cord bloodbanks have to get an approval for laboratory status from the stategovernment.“We are hoping to have the regulations in place by the end of this year.The stakeholders have given us feedback on the guidelines and I hope thedepartment of health research will be able to notify them within next month,”said V.M. Katoch, director general of ICMR.India’s first private cord blood bank was set up in 2004 by Chennai-based
LifeCell
 in partnership with US’s
Cryo-Cell International
, one of the world’slargest and oldest stem cell banks. In its attempt to make this facilityavailable for middle-class families, LifeCell has reduced the charge (for storing stem cells for 21 years) to
R
19,990 from
R
70,000 with an additionalannual fee of
R
3,500.“We want middle-income families to start storing cord blood units as well. Itis a good gift to someone having a child. There are studies that show that 1in 2,700 units is utilized, but for that particular family, which uses its frozenunit, this technology is invaluable. The costs have been reduced to make ita viable option for the masses,” said Paramjit Dhot , medical director atLifeCell. The facility is available in 80 cities in India.
 
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First Published: Tue, Dec 03 2013. 12 05 AM IST
STEM CELLS CORD BANKING LIFECELL ICMR SCIENCE

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