Dr Chandan K Sen, director of the Ohio State University's Center for Regenerative Medicine and Cell Based Therapies.
Q: Please explain the relevance of regenerative medicine in present context and how significant it is as an alternative to existing form of medicines?
Dr Sen: Regenerative medicine is the natural future progression of medicine. There was a day when transplantation was not possible and then we came to the era where we could take organs from a dead body or from a life donor and provide it to a recipient. But the biggest issue related to transplantation is human rejection and human compatibility of the organs. Now we are moving into the next era where you don't just transfer the body of the adults. Tissue engineering, organ engineering is what you have and that generates organ or tissue. But this is gradually coming up to be huge because anything that is a success in medicine helps to establish a big business. From a healthcare as well as economic point of view, if you are not positioning for this, then you would be playing catch up later on and people will get care. So the goal here is to form the discipline and today you saw the national facility. So that's already a big acknowledgement and then gradually starting diabetic programs, curriculums so that the next generations are trained as expert. So this is not really an alternative, but a natural progression, the future of regenerative medicine.
Q: Do you think regenerative medicine has really taken off in India? When could we expect to see the real results (translation into products) on ground?
Taken off means these are the seeds of what AIIMS is currently doing and starting to formulate. So yes, there is a very strong interest and I think that within the next three years there should be some programs that are in place, that are actually training people and generating new science and within the next five years I anticipate that there would be an impact on patient care and this can happen parallely. There are certain parts of science that are ready to be taken to people. I have noticed that in India there are numerous entities on their own in their way that can be significant if involved.
Q: What is the role that you see for regenerative medicine in future? How can Indian public and private researchers help?