The Indian Naval hospital INHS `Asvini’ is planning to set up a state-of-the-art Stem Cell Centre in collaboration with various civil institutes.

The centre will develop the technology to collect and manipulate stem cells of both adult and embryonic origin, for regeneration of various tissues damaged by disease or trauma (regenerative medicine), as well as possible nuclear radiation fall-out and war injuries.

The Director General Armed Forces Medical Services, Surgeon Vice Admiral VK Singh had recently expressed his willingness to fund such a centre at a recently concluded Continued Medical Education (CME) programme on `Stem Cells in War and Peace’.

During the CME, Dr Purvish Parikh, Head of Medical Oncology at Tata Memorial Hospital and Honorary Consultant to the Armed Forces, highlighted the potential of utilizing stem cells in the event of nuclear fallout- a problem not only faced by the Armed Forces, but also likely to involve large sections of civilian population, the sources said.

He highlighted the potential use of stem cells in the treatment of severe bone marrow failure due to radiation exposure in the event of nuclear catastrophe, and the system is in place in Europe for such eventuality.

Addressing the CME, Vice Admiral SS Byce Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Western Naval Command emphasised the need for the best expertise from the civil and armed forces to come together to utilise stem cell technology, as it had immense potential in treating problems of specific interest to the military such as nuclear fallout and war injuries, and hitherto untreatable disorders of mankind at large.

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