The Stem Cell Research Industry In India

Create: 11/22/2015 - 22:30

Vijayaraghavan, General Manager- HR & Shared Services, Stempeutics Research

Guest Author's Profile:-

Vijayaraghavan is working with Stempeutics Research as General Manager - HR and also looks after Supply Chain, Public Relations, Information Technology and General Administration. He is a Graduate in Economics from Lucknow and a postgraduate in HR from CGU. He is also an Executive Coach Intern from CFI. He is a seasoned HR professional and skilled administrator with over 18 years of experience in various HR processes, strategy development and operations and aligning HR process with business objectives. His prior experience includes stints with Aditya Birla Group, ITC Hotels, Indian Hotel Company, Oberoi Group (including posting at Baku). He was deputed as Head HR – Manipal Education Malaysia, and has held other strategic roles in HR within the group. He has proven abilities to lead change management initiative, optimise resource & capacity utilization leading to productivity & operational efficiencies. Vijay brings to the table an out-of-the-box thinking approach with excellent leadership skills.

Article:-

The Stem Cell Research Industry In India

The world of stem cell research is a relatively new and unknown one. Only recently have governments in most countries lifted bans on research and addressed ethical concerns over it. Now most countries across the world are encouraging scientists and laboratories to conduct and create research opportunities.

Stem cells are the basic building cells that have the ability to divide faster to create more specialised cells. This means they can repair and regenerate tissue at a faster pace, spelling major advancements in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. However, they are difficult to obtain and are unpredictable – this being a fairly new industry where the research is in its nascent stage. 

However this is rapidly changing. In India especially, where the country’s stem cell research facilities have made it a leader in the Asia Pacific region. The Indian government has made a major effort to make people aware of what stem cell research it and how its conclusions can help the common public. There has even been an implementation of a Stem Cell Awareness Day this year, on April 10. In addition to this, there have been a number of drives and campaigns to dispel myths and to make people more familiar with this concept and thereby help to propagate its popularity. The Central Government of India, through its agencies such as DBT, DST, and ICMR, has started investing funds to support basic and translational research in this field of science. The current investment in stem cell research in India is more than Rs 1,000 crore. 

Besides the efforts of the government, it’s also the work of private companies, many of which have collaborated with pharmaceutical giants to create new drugs, that have helped to make stem cell research such an advanced industry in the country. 

The industry is a very new, and the amount of interest and investment in it, make it a very attractive prospect for students interested in working within it. They need not be restricted by the lack of a medical background. Research laboratories of the stem cell industry accept students from the field of biology as well, as long as they’re eligible and interested in the field of research. This is a very unique opportunity for the students, to be part of something that’s working towards a future. 

Stem cell research works toward repair and rejuvination, to develop drugs for serious ailments. This field of regenerative medicine and stem cell research holds the potential to treat a range of serious ailments such as Critical Limb Ischemia, Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus and Parkinson’s disease. 

The future includes embryonic stem cell technology – already a reality today. Stem cells can be introduced to repair differentiated cells, becoming temporary assistants in the local repair process. We’re looking at a future of developing pharmaceutical products that can do the work without removing stem cells, such as activate bone marrow cells, and enocurage them to migrate to those parts of the body that needs repair and regeneration. 

Companies like Bangalore based Stempeutics have already developed Stempeucel, as part of an initative undertaken with support from the pharmaceutical company Cipla. They have changed the way that doctors diagnose and treat patients suffering from from Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI). Their innovation of a novel stem-cell therapy based drug Stempeucel, has aided patients suffering from CLI. They will no longer have to amputate their limbs, which is normally the only treatment in the last stage of this disease. The disease currently doesn’t just affect the quality of life of an individual, but also increases the economic burden of patients and their care givers. Stempeutics has recently even won an ODD (Orphan Drug Designation) in the European Union for its Novel Stem Cell drug.

The nature and personality of the stem cell research industry is such that it lends itself very organically to the future of the pharmaceutical industry as well as the cosmetic industry. The unique ability of stem cells – that of repair and rejuvenation – makes it a viable subject. Research effort is redoubled and the opportunity for students to be part of such a exciting project are manifold. The industry is out to make the future a healthier world, without intrusive surgeries and more efficient drugs and methods of drug delivery. Stem cell research also lends a better understanding of the human body – how it works, how it repairs, what its limits are and how to utilise them to help regenerate lost tissue and one day even organs. The ramifications of such study and research are intensely huge and can change the course of mankind’s future. The process towards it is taking place in laboratories near you, and it’s time to sign up. 

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