The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - (AIIMS) - recently announced its pioneering stem cell treatment using an injection method whereby stem cells are placed directly into the patient. In a ground breaking study, under its Director Dr. P. Venugopal, over two years up to January 2005, thirty five cardiac patients were given stem cell treatments and monitored regularly. There have been real improvements and no mortalities, despite the fact that all the patients were brought in at a stage when their hearts were deemed beyond bypass surgery. A national stem cell centre will now be started at AIIMS which will co-ordinate the research and its applications.

The Institute, a world-wide centre of excellence, is a user of several Planer machines which were supplied by Indus Instruments Impex P Ltd. Stem cell freezing is as yet only planned but Planer Kryo 560s and 360s are already used in homograft, HIV programmes research and bio research. Mr. P. P. Venkitachalam, Managing Director of Indus, said that "We very much hope that also in the pipeline is an umbilical cord cell bank". This would be a part of the stem-cell facility at AIIMS.

In cord blood banking, blood is retrieved from umbilical cords of neonates which is conventionally discarded along with the placenta. The cells are then treated and controlled rate frozen prior to long term cryo-preservation in liquid nitrogen These, on purification, are a rich source of stem cells. Disorders which can be treated with stem cells from umbilical cord blood include various genetic disorders that affect the blood and the immune system, leukaemia and certain cancers as well as some inherited disorders. Cord blood stem cells can benefit a wide range of recipients including the donor, his siblings, other family members and even unrelated recipients.

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