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Govt Keen To Propagate Stem Cell Research On Right Track

To avoid quackery in the field of stem cell therapy, and propagate the stem cell research on right track, the Government has decided to work on improving the protocols involved in this therapy. //

The system would be developed under the leadership of director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), according to Union health secretary P K Hota.

The decision comes as a reaction to the claim by Nutech Mediworld, a private clinic, to have used embryonic stem cell therapy for successfully treating 100 patients suffering from various diseases using the technique. Nutech Mediworld is registered with Vitro Fertilisation and Genetic Centre in Delhi.

Hota, who attended the launch of the book 'Human Embryonic Stem Cells: A Revolution in Therapeutics' a compilation of 100 clinical cases of human embryonic stem cells treatment done by a team led by fertility expert Dr Geeta Shroff, said that the government would soon put in place detailed operational guidelines on the stem cell research to resolve ethical issues concerning the fast emerging field which has the potential to cure a number of incurable diseases.

Mr Hota praised the work done by Dr Shroff who claimed to have cured many incurable and terminal diseases like paralysis, spinal injuries, genetic and auto-immune disorders and said stem cells have given a new hope for the future. He said the government would support any mechanism involving legitimate experiments.

However, he stressed that ''stem cells research needs some discipline, certain protocols and ethical issues need to be put in place. Setting up of system for actual treatment offering good work is required so that quackery could be avoided.''

A committee on dynamics of stem cell research will be set up to address the ethical issues involved in researches and therapies because these are important.

A practical guide of do's and don'ts associated with s tem cells would be prepared and ICMR would take a lead in this regard, he said. Significantly, Dr Shroff said that she had informed ICMR about all her research involving stem cells harvested from human embroys discarded during IVF treatment, ICMR has not yet approved them.

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