India’s first stem cell transplant center opened Wednesday in Chennai, capital of south Indian state Tamil Nadu, Indo-Asian News Service reported.

Killer diseases like leukaemia, stroke, diabetes and crippling spinal cord injuries could soon be treated at the country’s first stem cell transplant centre. The center will be put into operation in Chennai by the end of this year.

Patients suffering from haematological and oncological ailments would be treated first using stem cells from various sources — adult bone marrow, umblical cord blood and peripheral blood.

LifeCell, a stem cell banking and research company in India, launched the center with the US-based Cryo-Cell Inc.
The company has invested $4 million to set up the transplant centre at the Sri Ramachandra Medical Centre of Excellence.

Stem cells, obtained from cord blood cells during the childbirth, has the potential to cure over 75 diseases that humansface today as they can be used to repair specific tissues, according to researchers.

“In India the concept of preserving the stem cell is gradually gaining momentum and the potential for this is huge,” said Prasad Mangipudi, vice president (marketing) of LifeCell.

LifeCell has 18 stem cell collection centers across the country,which have collected 3,600 samples so far. And it plans to increase the number to 31 by March 2009.

“Stem cells have the potential to cure diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, heart attack, Parkinson’s and many other ailments that can cost human life,” said Anthony Finch, Cryo-Cell chief scientific officer.

According to Anthony Finch, Cryo-Cell chief scientific officer, Indians are gradually learning about its need and potential butthey need proper education on the benefits of stem cell and proper regulation to prevent it from being corrupted.

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