india going strong

India going Strong with Stem Cell Research

With the growing interest in the benefits of cord blood and stem cell in treating diseases, India is poised to be a major market for stem cell research in the years to come.

With the growing interest in stem cell technology and its implications in saving lives, India is set to become a solid market for stem cell research.

Parents who are advised by their doctors to enrol for cord blood banking, scientists and doctors working in regenerative medicine, the increasing numbers of people suffering from blood-related and autoimmune disorders…all of these are throwing the spotlight on stem cell research like never before. In the last decade, the stem cell research market has globally grown, while the investment in the sector in India was to the tune of $540 million in the year 2010[1].

In his report ‘Stem Cell Entrepreneurship – Trends and Advances, Part II”, Dr Winston Pareira writes, “From just a few Institutes in India two years back, today over 30 institutions are involved in stem cell research with the Indian government investing around $8 million in just the last two years. What is the ultimate goal of Stem Cell research? Today, the ultimate aim of scientists is to be able to build tissues or organs that can replace injured or diseased tissues in the human body. This concept which gives rise to the generation of mature tissues has made adult stem cells the focus of intense research, designed to treat a variety of human diseases.

“In the clinical scenario, stem cells are expected to be transplanted into the damaged area and then grow to a new, healthy tissue. Considering the immense interest worldwide, it comes as no surprise that the global market for stem cell therapy is around $20 billion in 2010, as per a Frost & Sullivan study.”

The growth of stem cell research in India was prompted also by the interest of doctors associated with various disciplines such as cardiology, diabetology, spinal cord repair and ophthalmology, and who had several patients who had the potential to show improvement provided they received the right kind of stem cells to aid restorative repair and growth.

Today, immense research is being conducted to understand the types and functions of each kind of stem cells, and their allied application in medicine. Stem cell research conducted in India is making the process of understanding cord blood and stem cell utility in finding cures much easier, faster and affordable. Writes Sanjay Mittal in the report ‘Stem Cell Research: The India Perspective’, “Given India’s science, tax regimes, regulation, supporting industries and financial markets are at a different stage of evolution to that of the developed economies, India faces unique challenges in the fluid arena of stem cell globalisation.” In the same report, Mittal adds that “emerging economies like India are introducing policies designed to improve their global competitive position in this field.”

Most stem cell research in India is driven by and encouraged by private cord blood banks, which have the lion’s share of the market in the country.[2]

[1] Pareira, Winston (Ph.D), ‘Stem Cell entrepreneurship – Trends and advances, Part II’, 2010

[2] ‘Stem cell research market in India, 2014’, www.researchmoz.us

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