OVERVIEW

Stem cells and cell-based therapies have tremendous potential in curing the millions of adults and children suffering from incurable diseases and medical conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, heart diseases, stroke and diabetes, osteoarthritis, birth defects, spinal cord injuries, and may also play a major role in cancer research. With the objective of harnessing the immense potential of stem cells in regenerative medicine, Nitte (Deemed to be University) started the Centre for Stem Cell Research & Regenerative Medicine (NUCSReM), in December 2013.

With state-of-the-art labinfrastructure and facilities, the NUCSReM envisages not only to further advance the understanding of basic stem cell biology but also to facilitate the clinical application of stem cells to treat patients with various disorders or injuries. To meet the global standards of stem cell research facilities for clinical applications, the NUCSReM has been set up by using the experience and expertise of biomedical engineers belonging to ChangJo Biomedical Engineering Company, Republic of Korea. The centre is presently headed by Prof. (Dr.) M. Shantharam Shetty, renowned Orthopaedic Surgeon of the country with four faculty members comprising of stem cell researchers and orthopaedic surgeons, and two adjunct faculty, Prof. (Dr.) A. Ananthram Shetty, Chair of Orthopaedics and Director of Research from Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, United Kingdom and Prof. (Dr.) Seok Jung Kim, Director of Cell Therapy Centre, Orthopaedic Surgeon from The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

Among stem cells, particularly, somatic/adult stem cells (SSCs/ASCs) can be isolated not only from bone marrow, but also from other tissue sources, such as adipose tissue, muscle, umbilical cord blood, placenta, skin and dental tissues. However, the ASCs from tissues are not available in a sufficient quantity to regenerate the damaged tissues, and the in-vitro culture is needed for their isolation or expansion to obtain adequate number of cells for therapeutic use. Thus, the primary focus of the centre revolves around isolation, in-vitro characterizationand differentiation forpotential autologous transplantation of patient specific stem cells, particularly for orthopaedic and dermatological applications. Further expansion of research aims to develop and utilise the patient specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) based regenerative medicine technologies for the better treatment of various disorders and diseases. Moreover, studies on vitiligo, the skin disorderarealso being carried out. The centre offers doctoral programme (PhD) in the area of ‘Stem cells and regenerative medicine’ under the faculty of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences. The research activities in the centre adheres to the National Guidelines for Stem Cell Research-2017 jointly formulated by ICMR and DBT, Govt. of India and it strictly follows the national and international standards of good manufacturing practice [GMP & current GMP (cGMP)] for processing of cells under the highest assurance of sterility, quality and documentation.