Modi seeks help on sickle cell anaemia

Japan visit day 2: Meets Nobel winner Yamanaka.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | Kyoto | Published:September 1, 2014 1:02 am
‘I’m Modi and you are Mori’: This is how Prime Minister Narendra Modi charmed the 83-year-old  head priest Yasu Nagamori (left) of Kinkakuji (Golden  Pavilion) —  an ancient 14th century Buddhist temple — in Kyoto on Sunday. (Source: PTI) ‘I’m Modi and you are Mori’: This is how Prime Minister Narendra Modi charmed the 83-year-old head priest Yasu Nagamori (left) of Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) — an ancient 14th century Buddhist temple — in Kyoto on Sunday. (Source: PTI)

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi looked through the microscope at Kyoto University’s stem cell centre lab on Sunday, he saw “hot muscle cells” made by Shinya Yamanaka, Japan’s stem cell pioneer and a 2012 Nobel Prize winner.

Soon, he asked Yamanaka to help battle sickle cell anaemia in India. The Japanese scientist, who has been to India, agreed, and Tokyo and Delhi are now looking at an agreement to help fight the hereditary disorder in which the body’s red blood cells take on a sickle shape, and contain defective haemoglobin.

In India, the disease is found mostly commonly among tribals in some parts of Gujarat and Orissa, as well as in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattigarh.

As Gujarat CM, Modi is understood to have met several tribals suffering from the disease.

After his visit to the lab on the second day of his Japan tour, the PM said: “I wanted to understand stem cell research because cultural heritage matters to me as much as scientific heritage. I want to integrate both to make India a developed country.”

Akemi Nakamura, a spokesperson for Yamanaka’s stem cell research institute, said, “The Indian Prime Minister and Dr Yamanaka had a conversation for about 30 minutes. It was indeed a proud moment for us.”

Officials said the prospect of cooperation on sickle cell anaemia is a “promising start” towards combating the disease.

Yamanaka won the Nobel Prize along with British scientist John Gurdon for his work in stem cell research. He made the groundbreaking discovery that “induced pluripotent stem cells” could be derived from adult cells and potentially substituted, in research and therapy, for embryonic stem cells.

That discovery was prompted by his reluctance to use live embryos for research purpose.

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  1. R
    Raghu Ram
    Sep 1, 2014 at 11:43 am
    How can a Prime Minister of a country with more than a billion think about subjects, which even a small leader of a village does not think?!!! Because it is Sri Modi "the Best"
    Reply
    1. J
      Jadu
      Sep 1, 2014 at 9:49 pm
      His has concern for the poorest of the poor because he has gone through that. Some people writes that Mr. Modi is trader and he is not a statesman let those people know what is Mr. Modi is?
      Reply
      1. N
        Nirvikar Goel
        Sep 1, 2014 at 6:52 am
        His every move distinctly inclined for the good of its people, no match.
        Reply
        1. A
          Anil G.
          Sep 12, 2014 at 12:22 am
          we have the solution and also a cheap solution for indian potion but how to reach Mr. modi and take it from there.can somebody in PMO direct us to Jt secy health who can do it and see that the disease is at least managed well.The only cure is bone marrow transplant but by hydroxyurea it can be managed but hydroxyurea is expensive for indian poce so we have developed a Ayurvedic proprietary formulation to keep the patient out of strokes, pain and discomfort.We can solve this problem in india if the fraternity is determined to do something positive and not just lip service.
          Reply