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3/23/2014 Banking on stem cells - Livemint

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In its attempt to make cord blood banking available for middle-class families, LifeCell,
Indias largest accredited stem cell banking firm, has reduced the charge (for storing
stem 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 a
mother-to-be in 2012 was to opt for cord blood banking. However, the
decision to freeze stem cellscord blood is a rich source of stem cells
was not informed by research. She did not know how exactly it would help
her 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 lot
of the information is contradictory and the ethical implications (of how cord
banks market themselves) concern me. Most stem cell banks market the
service as an insurance, to almost mean that if you dont opt for it, you are
already bad parentseven before the child has arrived, she said.
Whether or not to store cord blood is one of the first tests of parenthood
young Indian couples tackle these days. Cord blood banks offer to freeze
and store the babys stem cells for up to 20 years, during which they can be
used in medical emergencies.
For many would-be parents in Indialike Chaudhuryit becomes an
emotional 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
Vidya Krishnan
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Cord blood, the blood that remains in the umbilical cord after birth, is a rich
source of stem cells that are used for transplants as they regenerate other
immune cells. Stem cells can be used to regenerate any body part as these
primitive cells have the potential to be developed into any kind of tissue.
Cord blood is one of three main sources of stem cells, the others being
bone marrow and embryonic cells. Bone marrow treatments usually require
accurate matching with the donor, making the process complicated.
Treatment options based on embryonic cells are considered controversial
due to the requirement of embryo from waste foetus, such as the foetus
from an abortion or a stillbirth. This leaves stem cells found in the cord
blood as the most efficient for therapy.
Experts maintain that the use of embryonic stem cells evokes extreme
responses from to-be parents. Globally, the notion is perceived to be
against Christianity, but in the Indian context, the therapy is yet to take off
because of the level of discomfort from parents. Additionally, despite a lot of
research going on in this area, there are very limited proven therapeutic
results, which makes the option not worth pursuing, said a gynaecologist
not wanting to be named.
The cord blood collected from a newborn is cryopreserved for 21 years.
The process involves cooling the cord to 90 degrees Celsius, and then
adding it to a liquid nitrogen tank where the cord blood is kept frozen at
196 degrees Celsius.
Stem cells from cord blood have been used in the treatment of more than
80 diseases, including leukaemia, lymphoma, multiple sclerosis,
thalassemia, multiple myeloma and sickle cell anaemia.
However, the rate of usage in India is minimal. LifeCellIndias largest
accredited stem cell banking companyhas released only 23 cord blood
units for therapy out of an inventory of 70,000 units.
According to the Association of Stem Cell Banks of India, over 1.6 million
units of cord blood are stored in 15 private banks.
Industry experts maintain that penetration of stem cell banking in India is
very low, with the parents of only two per 1,000 babies opting for the
service, against 50 per 1,000 in the US and 250 per 1,000 babies in
Singapore.
Seeing the potential for growth in this sector, a number of private
companies and even high-end hospital chains have moved into
regenerative medicine, which uses stem cells from placentas, umbilical
cords, aborted foetuses and even menstrual blood to treat a range of
diseases.
The association maintains that cord blood banks in Gurgaon alone are
reporting nearly an exponential increase in business every month. Banks in
Gurgaon, a satellite city of Delhi, collect at least 500 samples every month,
it says. Across India, there are three cord blood banks in the public sector
and 15 private banks. More recently, uptake has been increasing
substantially. Keeping that in mind, we have launched more affordable EMI
(equated monthly instalment) programmes. We are, however, hopeful
because advances in science will harness the potential of stem cell in
regenerative medicine and this science will be used for newer indications
(diseases). Five new trials are currently being conducted for conditions that
were not anticipated earlier. So the market is set to expand exponentially,
said Mayur Abhaya, who heads the newly formed Association of Stem Cell
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3/23/2014 Banking on stem cells - Livemint
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Ankit Mehta: Commercial
use of drones to rise
Banks. According to Abhaya, private stem cell bankers across India add
more 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 next
two-three years using aggressive awareness campaigns.
However, like other new sectors in health, the stem cell industry, dominated
by private companies, remains largely unregulated. The Indian Council of
Medical Research (ICMR) has only a draft set of guidelines for stem cell
research. Since no laws govern stem cell banking in India, most cord blood
banks have to get an approval for laboratory status from the state
government.
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 the
department of health research will be able to notify them within next month,
said V.M. Katoch, director general of ICMR.
Indias first private cord blood bank was set up in 2004 by Chennai-based
LifeCell in partnership with USs Cryo-Cell International, one of the worlds
largest and oldest stem cell banks. In its attempt to make this facility
available for middle-class families, LifeCell has reduced the charge (for
storing stem cells for 21 years) to R19,990 from R70,000 with an additional
annual fee of R3,500.
We want middle-income families to start storing cord blood units as well. It
is a good gift to someone having a child. There are studies that show that 1
in 2,700 units is utilized, but for that particular family, which uses its frozen
unit, this technology is invaluable. The costs have been reduced to make it
a viable option for the masses, said Paramjit Dhot , medical director at
LifeCell. 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
3/23/2014 Banking on stem cells - Livemint
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Bhagwati Singh a month ago
I am diabetic since1999 I want my stem cells to be stored in your bank,I had seen a ad in
Adventist clinic that from the Akal dar stem cell can be recovered,so I have decided to under
go treatment. can your bank help me keeping my stem cells in your bank.i am living in Jaipur
Rajasthan. Hope for an reply. My email: sy.singhbhagwati@gmail.com With regards
Bhagwati Singh


Reply
Ashish Sharma 2 months ago
NOT FAITHFUL, I AM ALSO TAKE DUO PRESERVE POLICY FROM LIFECELL BUT I AM
NOT SATISFY ,

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