Stem cell banks could be health insuarance for future

Danya Sethi has never suffered from a major ailment. But the child is likely to be treated with the best possible medical technology available in the future in the event of mishap.

Her confidence has been boosted by stem cell banking which is a new, but widely spreading concept in metros, especially Delhi.

“When Danya was born in 2001, we had only heard of preservation of cells which can be used for treating a number of diseases. The technology did not exist in India. Initially, stem cells could only be taken from umbilical chord when a baby was born. But recently we realised that milk teeth till the age of 11 can also be used and we got our child’s stem cells preserved,” said Kanwal Sethi, Danya’s mother.

Danya will turn 11 on February 24, and her parents think they just cut it fine to secure their child’s future.

“Regeneration of body parts from stem cells is new age technology. Stem cells from children which are preserved today, will benefit the generation tomorrow. We can recreate lungs, liver, bone and other organs through these cells,” said Dr Tarun Giroti, Sterling Dental Clinic, Vasant Vihar.

 “Latest research shows that even the cornea can be created. Patients of diabetes can be cured too,” he added. 

Once acquired, each unit of cells can be doubled 70-90 times. In certain cases, this process of doubling can go up to 140 times.

However, the cost of preserving the cells, in absence of state’s support so far, makes it a privilege only for a few. 

“Our contract is for a period of 20 years. The processing takes Rs 50,000 while the registration fee is Rs 10,000. We charge Rs 4000 - Rs 5000 per year for storage which is done at a temperature of -150 degree or below,” said Shailesh Gadre, managing director, Stemade Biotech.

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