DIABETES STEM CELL BONANZA
Production line promises cure-on-demand
India’s Apollo Hospital Group has announced the launch of a stem cell production line targeted at curing type 1 diabetes. It appears that Indian scientists have consolidated research from many countries to create this first commercial application.
For a starting price of thirty thousand US$ they will custom-make stem cells using a patient’s own DNA. “Donor egg cells provide the crucible for the ‘manufacturing’ process,” says Imran Singh, Apollo’s chief surgeon. “Using a patient’s own DNA to build stem cells in the lab before re-injecting them is a sure way to avoid rejection once the pancreas has been seeded with new immune cells.”
Today, there are an estimated 300 million diagnosed diabetics world-wide, and authorities reckon that more than 40 million type 1 patients will be able to afford the treatment at current prices. Starting early next year Apollo plans to franchise this technology to hospitals and clinics world-wide.
The promised implications for diabetics are profound – no more injections ever, and a healthier, longer life.
The commercial implications for pharmaceutical firms such as Pfizer, Merck, Novartis, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, plus their distribution channels – primarily pharmacies and doctors – are far less attractive.
They could stand to lose up to half their regular annuity income from cloned human insulin plus the medical kits and appliances that diabetics use every day. A market sized at US$ 40 billion per annum is in turmoil with a brand new player taking the lead.
Warning: Hazardous thinking at work
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