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Our humble submission regarding ICMR's recommendation to suspend commercial banking of stem cells from cord tissue, placenta, amnion, menstrual blood and few other biological materials

The Fundamental Right To Protect

We at ReeLabs firmly believe that every individual has the right to protect their family and do what is in the best interest for them. Multiple studies from leading scientists from developed nations like the US, EU and Japan have shown beyond doubt the potential of stem cells to treat a multitude of medical conditions. India has seen a rapid growth in stem cell research and banking. Besides cord blood, highly potent and viable stem cells are available from sources like the cord tissue, placenta, amniotic sac, amniotic fluid, dental pulp, adipose tissue, menstrual fluid and bone marrow. Millions of families have reposed faith in stem cell banking as a form of biological insurance for their loved ones.

However, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recently made recommendations in its national guidelines for stem cell research (2017) and is looking at suspending commercial banking of stem cells derived from biological materials such as cord tissue, placenta, tooth extract and menstrual blood. Where internationally acclaimed regulatory bodies such as USFDA, AABB have acknowledged and accredited cord tissue banking, in India these guidelines severely and negatively impact the future potential of stem cell treatments.

Sources like the placenta, amniotic sac and amniotic fluid, which some consider to be the best sources of stem cells due to the quality and quantity of stem cells available, may be a once in a lifetime opportunity for many parents. In fact, the first amniotic fluid banking facility was set up in the United States where the laws on stem cell banking are much tightly regulated. These new ill-conceived guidelines mean that these sources will be discarded as 'biological waste'.

In the end, we have to realize that stem cell banking means just 'storing of stem cells' to be used in future if required. If the guidelines were concerned about other aspects like treatment, it would have made more sense to regulate the issue of banked stem cells rather than banning storage itself.

We humbly request ICMR to reconsider the new guidelines in the interest of the people.

Further Read:

Clinical Trials of Cord Blood and Umbilical Cord Tissue

Placenta as a reservoir of stem cells: an underutilized resource?

Placental mesenchymal stem cells of fetal and maternal origins demonstrate different therapeutic potentials

Multipotent stromal stem cells from normally discarded human placental tissue demonstrate high therapeutic potential

Scientific Publications - Pluristem

Pluristem Placenta Expanded cells

Amniotic membrane and amniotic cells: Potential therapeutic tools to combat tissue inflammation and fibrosis?

Human Fetal Membranes: A Source of Stem Cells for Tissue Regeneration and Repair?

Comparison of feto-maternal organ derived stem cells in facets of immunophenotype, proliferation and differentiation

Comprehensive Characterization of Mesenchymal Stem Cells from Human Placenta and Fetal Membrane and Their Response to Osteoactivin Stimulation

Pre- and Postnatal Transplantation of Fetal Mesenchymal Stem Cells in Osteogenesis Imperfecta: A Two-Center Experience

Fetal membranes as a source of stem cells

Comparison of different methods for the isolation of mesenchymal stem cells from human umbilical cord Wharton's jelly.

Mesenchymal stem cells derived from Wharton's Jelly of the umbilical cord: biological properties and emerging clinical applications.

Placental Mesenchymal Stem Cells: A Unique Source for Cellular Cardiomyoplasty

Fetal mesenchymal stromal cells from cryopreserved human chorionic villi: cytogenetic and molecular analysis of genome stability in long-term cultures.

Long term in-vitro expansion reduces immune modulation function of placental chorionic villi mesenchymal stem cells

Potential of human fetal chorionic stem cells for the treatment of osteogenesis imperfecta.

Biological properties of dehydrated human amnion/chorion composite graft: implications for chronic wound healing.

Immunological properties of extraembryonic human mesenchymal stromal cells derived from gestational tissue.

Therapeutic potential of placenta-derived stem cells for liver diseases: current status and perspectives.

Biological characteristics of stem cells from foetal, cord blood and extraembryonic tissues

Placenta as a reservoir of stem cells: an underutilized resource?

Fetal stem cells from extra-embryonic tissues: do not discard