For those looking to avail of stem-cell banking, LifeCell offers top-of-the line services with easy payment options.

India is today a much sought after destination for medical tourism and stem-cell banking is emerging as the newest addition that the country’s medical services have to offer. While the global medical tourism industry is currently pegged at $21 billion, India’s stem-cell banking business is predicted to grow more than 35% over the next year to Rs.140 crore, according to the Delhi-based Stem Cell Global Foundation. In fact, for a relatively new-fangled concept in health care, stem-cell banking is catching on fast and is becoming popular even in the small towns and cities of India.

Found in all multicellular organisms present in the body, stem cells are undifferentiated or ‘blank’ cells that possess the ability to divide and differentiate into several specialised cells and can regenerate to produce dead or lost cells. First identified in the mid-19th century, the extensive research on stem cells has long created ripples in the medical community. It has been found that stem cells could potentially cure diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes, as well as burns and spinal cord injuries, and they are already being used to treat leukemia and various heart diseases.

The growing popularity of stem-cell banking in India is thanks to companies such as the Chennai-based LifeCell, India’s first private umbilical cord blood and tissue stem cell bank. Started in 2004, LifeCell’s biggest initial challenge was creating awareness of this concept. Being amongst the first to enter the country with umbilical cord blood stem cell banking, LifeCell had the responsibility of educating more than commencing banking operations and that was its focus for the initial years. The challenge became tougher when it realised that even the medical fraternity was not familiar with the concept of stem cell banking. “As a corporate, LifeCell feels a sense of responsibility towards society, and has undertaken the initiative to educate the public, as well as the medical fraternity on the benefits of stem cell therapy. It has also set up a stem cell therapy centre to provide aid to the poor through clinical assistance,” says the company’s President & Executive Director Mayur Abhaya Srisrimal.

LifeCell’s incredible work in the field has earned it the trust of close to 32,000 clients today, a number that’s constantly growing, who have chosen to bank their baby’s cord blood stem cells with it. Currently, the market leader with a 40% share of the stem-cell banking market, LifeCell has expanded its presence to include over 80 cities nationwide. Its current revenues is Rs.50 crore, with a predicted growth of 40% year-on-year. “This is an extremely impressive growth when viewed from the perspective that we are operating in a niche segment with low awareness and with increasing competition every year,” says Abhaya. In spite of its impressive growth in recent years, the company is constantly trying to find new and innovative means to implement its outreach programmes. Its efforts to reach out to the medical fraternity, include regular continuous medical education (CME) programmes, which educate doctors on the latest developments in the stem cell industry.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2012

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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