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Maharashtra may tie up with S. Korean company for hi-tech medical bank

Our Bureau

Mumbai , July 7

THE Maharashtra Government is likely to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Friday with Histostem, a South Korean biotech company, to set up a Rs 86-crore cord-blood and stem cell bank near Mumbai.

Histostem develops human cell-based therapies and its operations include cell therapy research, public cord-blood bank for transplantation and family cord-blood bank.

Cord blood and stem cell research are high-tech research areas in medical sciences. Stem cell therapy in the coming decades may provide solutions to incurable ailments and severe injuries. First-generation therapy is already being offered in South Korea for spinal injuries but it comes at a price tag of over Rs 44 lakh for the treatment.

The umbilical cord blood at the time of delivery offers the most ready source of stem cells. These cells are harvested and injected in the human system for treatment.

In Mumbai city, some life-science companies and Central Government laboratories are already into doing stem cell research and cord-blood banks.

, Senior Genetic scientist, Dr B J Rao, of the Tata Institute of Fundament Research, told Business Line that India could maintain a large cord-blood and stem cell bank, given the large population. "Given our large population, finding the right stem cell which would be compatible with a particular blood type would not be difficult. More investment in this area will also lead to reduction of treatment cost," Dr Rao added.

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