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Friday, February 02, 2007

Manipal group plans foray into stem cell banking

Adding one more dimension to its initiatives in stem cell research, the Manipal group is foraying into stem cell banking. It is looking at a joint venture with a US group and would have a system in place in the next six months, said Ranjan Pai, CEO, Manipal Education and Medical Group.

“We are charting out plans to start stem cell banking in the next six months and are in talks for a JV with a US group. We are looking at both private (where you pay for banking your stem cells) and public banking (which is free banking and you pay to use stem cells). We may also look at a combination of both, with private banking for cities and public banking for the rural areas,” Mr Pai said.

The Manipal group’s stem cell research arm Stemputics is involved in the developmentof human stem cell technology in the field of regenerative medicine. It is conducting research on stem cell therapies for spinal cord injuries, optic nerve injury, cardiac diseases, diabetes and related diseases like diabetic foot. “We have seen very good results and have started clinical trials this year,” Mr Pai said.

The group has also set up the Manipal Institute of Regenerative Medicine that will offer post graduate and doctoral level programmes in stem cell technology. “The biggest constraint in this field is that there is not enough trained manpower. We hope to cater to that shortage with this post graduate course,” Mr Pai said.

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