Written by: Dr. Amit Mishra
The Evolving Optimism of Stem Cell Technology as Smart Therapy
India has an unrivalled combo of archaic knowledge base and modern technology in order to invade into science business. India, has sustained rapid growth in the economy, estimated GDP in 2018-19 being approximately 7 percent, increase in living standard of citizen’s, growing prevalence of chronic diseases like diabetes, blood cancer etc., the increase in number and proportion of older individuals in the population, and flourishing Indian medical tourism industry, altogether have raised the expectation for the enhanced demand for customized medical care.
According to the recent report, during the projected period (2018-2023), Stem cells or Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 21.8 percent. Cord blood Stem cell banking and transplantation (biomaterials) has gained popularity as a promising source of regenerative medicine in the recent years because of the quality care provided by the lifetime protection to the newborn baby and incomparable success rates.
Every person in this world is special because of the unique combination of nucleotides present in their (human) genome. Hence there is a requirement of specific medical care for each individual. It is just as each individual has a distinct nature and signature.
With the rapid expansion of investigations by doctors and scientists in Stem cell research and system biology, has made it possible today, the evolution of new and transformed personalized health care or theranostics, to improve the quality of life. The recent arrival of new gene editing technologies such as CRISPR (scissors), yet in a nascent stage in India, has also boosted the research and market has witnessed an inflow of diversified products and opportunities.
What are stem cells?
Stem cells or the undifferentiated cells are the basic cells whose functions are not defined. They are the heterogeneous stromal cells having regenerative power which can differentiate into different cell type’s viz., myocytes (muscle), chondrocytes (cartilage), osteoblasts (bone), and adipocytes (fat). It was in the year 1981 when it was first discovered in early mouse embryos. While it took another 17 years in the year 1998 to successfully derive and grow in the laboratory from human embryos. Today Stem cells have emerged as the best possible safe solution to manage common lifestyle and life-threatening diseases without any side effects.
In recent years, there have been significant advances in the number of start-ups in the personalized medicare sector and have created significant scope for Global stem cell market. In India, Stem cell therapy has reached new heights with mushrooming stem cell centres claiming to provide best stem cells and promising results in major cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Noida, and Gurgaon.
The final goal for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of human diseases, including spinal cord injury, genetic disorders, heart disease, diabetes, leukemia, arthritis, autism, eye diseases, kidney failure, and neurological disorders, like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease has been successfully accomplished by the use of Stem cells. They have also found utility in skin care, infertility, anti-aging, cosmetic dentistry and hair loss problem (PRP, Platelet Rich Plasma) and repair of damaged skin or tissues.
However, a long journey has yet to be covered, when developmental biology, cancer biology, Molecular signatures or markers that characterize different embryogenesis stages, cell differentiation and proliferation will be fully explained. An insight into the health of an individual will be better understood by studying the mechanistic pathway governing the molecular pathophysiology of diseased conditions such as tumors and birth defects.
Depending upon the type of products, the global market can be divided into adult stem cells, human embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), etc. Of these types, the adult stem cells (bone-marrow transplantation) account for the highest share in the market.
Furthermore, healthcare has become one of the major challenging concerns of the Indian Government. The initiation of new policies like affordable healthcare to all, generic drugs and programmes like National Health Policy and Medical Devices Rule, NHP Indradhanush and Ayushman Bharat have shown the commitment and focus of Modi government towards the goal of easy access, increasing awareness and affordability to quality healthcare for a healthy lifestyle.
Indian Stem cell market looks set for a solid long-term growth because of its growing pharmaceutical and biotechnology market as a potential manufacturer, and R&D (Research and Development) partner besides holding substantial opportunities for clinical trials. The safety, efficacy, and ethics of stem cells have always been a debatable issue and needs to be analyzed for Human Clinical Trials, iPSCs technology provide a better option, to be covering a large number of human diseases and correctly called future medicine of modern medical science.