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Hyderabad, Nov. 5 The country’s first clinical research facility (CRF) in stem cell and regenerative medicine with an investment of Rs 125 crores is expected to become functional by January 2009.

The Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, Mr Kapil Sibal, laid the foundation for the CRF today. It would be a collaborative venture of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) and Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS).

2 phases

The project is being implemented in two phases with facilities at the new campus near the CCMB on a five acre plot to be taken up initially. In phase two, facilities would be created at the NIMS campus.

With funds from the Department of Science and Technology, the CRF is expected to provide a major boost to basic research in cardiovascular and liver disorders.

It will also undertake research on stem cells having good regenerative or therapeutic potential.

Mr Sibal also laid the foundation stone for the National Bio-safety Level 4 Containment Facility (NBCF) for human infectious diseases on the CCMB campus.

Protocols

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Sibal said the Ministry was formulating a set of protocols governing the usage and transportation of stem cells. With more than 40 institutions and hospitals in the country involved in diverse aspects of embryonic and stem cell research, it is important to have guidelines in place.

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) has brought out draft guidelines for stem cell research in collaboration with the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR). The CRF in Hyderabad would emerge as an important national facility for the growth of stem cell research, he added.

The Director of CCMB, Dr Lalji Singh, said that as part of its efforts towards socially-relevant research, CCMB is also providing facilities for prenatal diagnosis and genetic counselling for several human diseases.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 6, 2007)
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