Scientists of India though have reached the stage of handling normal adult cells to be behave like embryonic stem cells (at Vellore’s Centre for Stem Cell Research, Christian Medical College) but still they preferred to use this special moment wisely, they like to keep every steps very cautiously into the field of embryonic stem cell research.
According to the Indian stem cell experts, though US President Barack Obama lifted the ban ,but there are quite a huge differences between theory and therapy, and it still exists. For example the cells cannot be taken from the laboratory to the patient’s bedside immediately, even if it has proved successful in animals, says, Dr Rama Shanker Varma, associate professor of the Stem Cell and Molecular Biology Lab, IIT, Madras.
Experts are worried about what have happened to the 17-year-old Israeli boy, whose brain was injected with foetal stem cells, and developed tumours in the spine.
Japan-based Dr Samuel J K Abraham, medical director of Nichi-in for Regenerative Medicine, an Indo-Japanese institute for stem cell research and therapy, advised for introducing long-term monitoring and follow up systems for patients who have undergone stem cell transplantation, in addition he asked all doctors to be careful about what they’re doing and on whom.
Dr Alok Srivastava, who heads the CMC Centre for Stem Cell Research also agrees not to rush to use iPS cells (Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells) and to enduced adequate safety.
Union health minister Anbumani Ramadoss, admits that though the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the lead body with regard to biomedical research, offers some guidelines on stem cell research and therapy. But they aren’t exhaustive, enabling several hospitals to advertise stem cell therapy as a miracle cure for all ills. The government is aware of this. “People are made to believe that stem cell therapy is a cure-all remedy. It’s a dangerous trend, particularly in the absence of legislation or a regulatory body.
Even experts like Dr Vasantha Muthuswamy, ICMR’s senior deputy director-general and scientists such as Dr P M Bhargava, ex-director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad admits about the unethical use of stem cell therapies in India, and this an matter which is to be deal with very urgently.