India will share its part in first clinical study using stem cells to cure spinal cord injury

  • Posted on: 14 May 2015
  • By: Shalini.Sharma

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India will bea part of a first-of-its-kind clinical trial for treating spinal cord injury in humans through stem-cells involving 18 patients. The clinical trial is a part of a collaborative study conducted in China, Norway and America involving 240 patients. The pre-clinical trial of this project already completed in the US and also the first phase clinical trials in China involving 120 patients.

The phase -2 b trial on humans in India will now start with 6 patients each from Bombay Hospital, Mumbai, NeuroGen Brain and Spine Institute, Mumbai and Apollo Hospital, Chennai. As a part of the study, the stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood will be sourced from China. These cells can be stored for 25 years through cryopreservation technique. But, since these cells are derived from outside the patient, the donor cells have to be compatible with the recipient. Various cord blood banking companies store these cells.

Stem cells are blank cells which can transform and multiply rapidly into any type of tissue in the body. They can regenerate, repair and replace damaged body parts of human body.

Umbilical cord blood is blood that remains in the placenta and in the attached umbilical cord after childbirth. This is generally discarded. It contains appreciable amount of stem cells of different types, mainly haematopoietic progenitor cells. It is capable of regenerating the entire blood and immune system and also form new blood channels. Once collected, processed and cryogenically stored immediately after birth, retains its potency and can be used on demand, with negligible turnaround time. They have been used successfully in transplants for reconstitution of bone marrow in malignant and degenerative diseases, correction of genetically transmitted haematological disorders like thalassaemias and potentially for cellular therapies and regenerative medicine.

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