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Stem cell banking to be regulated

Stem cell banking to be regulated

New Delhi: Stem cell banking in India is finally set to come under a regulatory framework. As a first step, senior officials at the ministry of health and family welfare are in the process of putting together a proposal for the formation of an expert committee for stem cell banks and therapy.

There are no rules or laws governing stem cell banking once a laboratory is approved by the state. There are no checks on the condition and temperature in which the cells are stored or transported. If a consumer has a complaint against a stem cell bank, the government has no power to act on it.

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The ministry’s department of health research is drafting a Bill for a biomedical authority that will cover stem cells as well, said V.M. Katoch, secretary, department of health research, and director general, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The Bill is likely to be put forth for cabinet approval next year.

Also, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), along with ICMR, will soon form a committee to study the proposals submitted by firms looking to set up stem cell banks before getting approval from DCGI. This will become mandatory once the regulatory framework is in place.

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