Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad Friday urged the scientists to tap the potential of therapeutic cloning to heal and regenerate damaged body parts and find treatment for complex medical problems.
"Although India remains totally opposed to reproductive cloning owing to the doubtful nature of its safety, success utility and ethical acceptability, therapeutic cloning can be considered on case-to-case basis," Azad said at an Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) function.
He said the ICMR should "play an active role in realizing the potential of stem cell research and its technology in modern therapeutic and regenerative medicine".
"A draft of guidelines for stem cell research/regulation on regulatory aspects of stem cell research and its applications prepared by ICMR will be very useful in this regard,” Azad added.
V.M. Katoch, secretary for health research, told IANS: “Therapeutic cloning is somewhat similar to stem cell research. This technique is useful to heal completely damaged body parts.”
He said, the health ministry will try to bring in a legislation in parliament soon to regulate any deviation in therapeutic cloning and stem cell research. “There should not be any (mis-) adventure. Everything should be for treatment.”
After giving away ICMR awards to famous health scientists, Azad reiterated India's progress on vaccine development especially on HIV. He said India has already completed phase one trial to develop vaccine for rota virus and HIV.
“The two vaccines have completed phase I trials in India and there is promise of having a vaccine against this dreaded disease,” the minister added.
Azad also expressed happiness over the initiation of setting up of a BSL 4 Facility in Pune, one of the higher level of bio-safety lab in the world and will be the first of its kind in India.