India's first non-profit stem cell bank is being established in the southern Indian metropolis of Chennai.
A blood bank in Chennai, capital of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is venturing into stem cell banking too. It will become operational in a couple of months.
Dr.P.Srinivasan, chairman of the Chennai-based Jeevan Blood Bank, told Medindia that theirs would be first such initiative in the country.
'We will provide stem cells of the highest quality,' he promised and said it would be a non-profit venture.
With a potential to cure more than 70 different medical conditions like blood cancers (leukemia and lymphoma) and other hematological conditions like Thalassemia, stem cells are considered to be one of the best treatment options available today.
plans to collect cord blood from donors, harvest stem cells, test for transmissible infections, store and ultimately release the safe compatible units to any one who needs them across the world.
'This will be done by adopting internationally approved and accredited techniques of collection, processing, banking and distribution to support stem cell transplantations and related research in India and around the world,' Dr Srinivasan said.
Elaborating on the initiative, he said the Jeevan Stem Cell Bank would collect, test, process and store not less than 40,000 units of stem cells collected from umbilical cord blood over the next five years. 'This number is scalable upwards based on the demand also on the funding options available. It will start functioning before 31 March 2008,'he said.
While 70 per cent of the capacity will be for public storage, the remaining 30 per cent will be earmarked for private storage. Jeevan Stem Cell Bank hopes to complete the accreditation processes by international agencies for its projects by December this year.
The Jeevan will also be collaborating with national research organizations recognized by the federal Indian government.
According to Dr Srinivasan, Jeevan Public Stem Cell Bank's stem cell registry will be on display on the bank's website for purposes of identification of matching units.
'Once identified, the required unit of stem cell can be transported frozen to the hospital where the patient is admitted for transplantation. Jeevan will make available this facility to any Indian in any part of the world,' he stressed.
Jeevan has a commendable track record in collecting, storing and providing blood. In the last 12 years, it has collected over 63,000 blood donations and made available over 100,000 units of safe blood and blood components to the community.
'We believe we have transformed the very face of transfusion medicine in the country through our uncompromising approach to quality and delivery timing. We hope to do an en core with stem cells too,' says Srinivasan, evidently brimming with confidence.