May 15, 2005

Stem Cell Research: Will India get a Nobel ?

"If it's true, it's fundamental rewrite of the text-books," says Richard Boyd, a stem cell researcher (Wait, I'll explain all!) based at Monash University in Melbourne who has reviewed 'their' data firs-hand.

It would be, he further adds, "Nobel prize-winning stuff" - Of course if it's proven!

Ok. What is stem cell? What research? Who these Indians are?

Unlike majority of cells in body, which are "specialised" as neuron cells, muscle or bone cells, "Stem Cells" are blank slates that can develop into many different tissue types and renew themselves differently.

When we are forming inside our mother's womb, we are a ball of stem cells, as we grow, the cells divide and grow as individual organs. A small number of stem cells remain as 'clean slate' even in an adult body. One example is the bone marrow - which produce red blood cells (RBC) - as they need to replenished at regular interval.

Now, what miracle will it do? When a 25 year old man who was having severe aplastic anaemia -a condition where the bone marrow stops producing RBC (he needed 5 blood transfusions a month to stay alive) - a little known biotech-firm "Tristem" cured him completely using the outcomes of stem cell research. The world looks this as miraculous and is suspicious and astonishingly looks the woman Ilham Abuljadayel who is behind this research. She says, "Curing Anaemia is just a start, we are already looking beyond!".

It doesn't stop with that. Imagine developing a replacement organ by provocating the stem cells - instead of replacement worries. you can grow your own organs! (I don't know really..but, it would be possible)

If they are valid, the firm's scientists could have made a breakthrough comparable to Alexander Fleming's discovery of Penicillin 77 years ago.

Let us watch!

Based on an article "Do you believe in Miracle?": Newscientist, 9 October 2004

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