Making steady progress in stem cell research and its clinical applications, Tamil Nadu Veterinary and Animal Sciences University (TANUVAS) is in a position to venture into the realm of cloning.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of an international seminar on ‘Frontiers of stem cell and biotechnology in human and veterinary medicine,' TANUVAS Vice-Chancellor P. Thangaraju said the varsity was conducting trials in embryo transfer in cattle and culturing of stem cells collected from ovaries for treatment of spinal cord, joints, nerves and tendons in animals.
After successfully using autologous (patient derived) stem cell therapy for the management of a paraplegic dog's spinal cord injury, the varsity plans to set up an umbilical cord cell bank for animals, especially dogs and horses. Stem cell therapy could come in handy in treating the injured tendons of race horses, which could cost Rs 4 to 5 lakh each. Virginia Tech, a partner institution, was also working on stem cell therapy for tendon injuries, he said.
On cloning, Mr. Thangaraju said, “We have standardised techniques for cloning rabbits. Now, we are working on larger animals.” Unwilling to set a deadline, he said: “I am not in a position to say whether it (cloning) is in its initial or final stage. There are impediments.''
Meanwhile, TANUVAS sources said the varsity has not taken up cloning till now as it involved ethical issues and needed the approval of animal ethics and genetic engineering committees. At present, TANUVAS was focussing on embryo transfer and stem cell therapy which have greater application in clinical applications, the sources said.
Inaugurating the international seminar, acting Consul General of the United States consulate in Chennai Bryan W. Dalton released the research papers.
Tamil Nadu Science City vice-chairman P. Iyamperumal, Nich-in Centre for Regenerative Medicine director Samuel J.K. Abraham and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University assistant professor S. Elankumaran spoke on the occasion.
TANUVAS programme director R. Prabakaran welcomed the gathering and director of clinics S. Prathaban proposed vote of thanks.