Monthly Archives: April 2009

Adult stem cells may lead to new infertility treatment

A special class of adult stem cells, known as human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, has for the first time been reprogrammed into cells that develop into human eggs and sperm. The research, carried out by members of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)’s Broad Stem Cell Research Center, was published in the January 27 online edition of the journal Stem Cells. Derived from adult body cells that have been engineered to return to an embryonic state, iPS cells have the ability to become every cell type in the human body – a characteristic they share with embryonic stem (ES) cells. In this study the iPS cells were coaxed into forming the germ line precursor cells that are capable of giving rise to sperm and eggs. ‘This finding could be important for people who are rendered infertile through disease or injury’. said Amander Clark, the senior author of the study. ‘We may, one day, be able to replace the germ cells that are lost, and these germ cells would be specific and genetically related to that patient’. Many infertile couples would see this process as preferable to using eggs or sperm from a donor who would then become one of the child’s genetic parents. However, Clark cautioned that scientists are still many years from offering treatments involving iPS cells to infertile patients. There are many uncertainties and dangers that need to be resolved. For example, the process of reprogramming involves using viruses to deliver genes to the cells, potentially increasing the likelihood of genetic abnormalities and cancers. Crucially, Clark’s team found that the germ line cells derived from iPS cells did not perform certain key regulatory processes as well as those generated from ES cells. The associated increased risk of chromosomal errors, or abnormal growth, could have serious health consequences for any child conceived using egg or sperm obtained in this way. Therefore Clark believes that it is vital that research using human ES cells continues. These cells can be derived from left over embryos used during in vitro fertilisation, and would otherwise be destroyed, yet their use is controversial and the topic remains fiercely debated.

Sources : Los Angeles Times, IVF News

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Beautiful Dawn in Lavasa

What can I say, everyday I greet you with a cool smile but you seldom notice. I am taken for granted by billions and only appreciated by a few. Every morning I look forward to greeting you looking my best but you never notice. Past generations greeted me with a smile and took the time to appreciate my beauty. In some cultures the first born was named in my honor. Those were much simpler times. Today you are in such a hurry that I feel I am a nuisance and not a blessing as you rinse the dew I left on your car. As I arrive every morning millions of animals greet me with song and playfulness but you, don’t even take the time to appreciate them. I guess it is true what you say time is money, but money can never buy what you miss every morning. A song has recently written about me and I hope it will help you understand what I have been trying to say.

The song goes like this: James Blunt – High Beautiful dawn – lights up the shore for me. There is nothing else in the world, I’d rather wake up and see (with you). Beautiful dawn – I’m just chasing time again. Thought I would die a lonely man, in endless night. But now I’m high; running wild among all the stars above. Sometimes it’s hard to believe you remember me. Beautiful dawn – melt with the stars again. Do you remember the day when my journey began? Will you remember the end (of time)? Beautiful dawn – You’re just blowing my mind again. Thought I was born to endless night, until you shine. High; running wild among all the stars above. Sometimes it’s hard to believe you remember me. Will you be my shoulder when I’m grey and older? Promise me tomorrow starts with you, Getting high; running wild among all the stars above. Sometimes it’s hard to believe you remember me..

Here I am trapped between these two concrete walls and plated glass. Forced to serve my time away from everything I love. I had promised my kids the vacation to Disney & Universal in California & am boarding the flight in a few minutes.  I will miss Lavasa for three weeks now! Anyways the last week in Mexico is dedicated to the “Sergio Bustamante” store at Lavasa due to open coming Diwali.

How often did I really think about nature?  Not often!  I had never really stopped or slowed down my life to think about the great and beautiful things nature has to offer.  That is until I started visiting Lavasa regularly.  It is now that I have come to realize the wonderful things nature in Lavasa has offered me and I have never, like they say….stopped to smell the roses!  I had always been too busy with my job and life itself that I had forgotten to take a moment to embrace nature; today I miss my Lavabahn cruising as I exit my country.

The water body beautifies the hill station and everything around it.  The trees make it so inviting and I remember thinking….I’m coming back here and just relax and enjoy the view.  Of course, I will now not have the chance to go back for 3 weeks!!!  Why don’t we appreciate nature and take advantage of what it provides us.  Natural beauty is found all around.  The trees seem to call out to us and invite us to take a break from our daily lives and just relax and read a book under them.  They provide the shade and protection that we so much need in hot sunny days, as well as in shady, cloudy ones.  Sitting on the green, crispy grass under my favorite tree near Ekaant makes me feel I can open my arms to the clear, blue sky.  I can actually breathe and slow down to really observe my surroundings.  The water makes the area so tranquil and soothing.  The sound of the water is music to my ears.  The sunlight on the Warasgaon Lake creates illusions of wonderful shapes in many different colors yet to be named.

I can see fish swimming slowly in the water and disappear in its depth.  I can hear the chirping of the birds and the sound of branches as they play happily on the trees.  It’s almost as watching children running joyfully.  I can smell the pureness of the air and fill my lungs with the ecstatic energy that only nature can provide.  Time seems to stand still as I sit here and enjoy the natural beauty of the environment.  I wish I did not have to leave this enchanted place.  I envy the ants that are free to come and go everywhere they want; the birds that fly all over the sky and yet always come back and the fish that live in the waterbody and know all its treasures and its most precious secrets.  Daily life struggles seem to fade away and I feel empowered to conquer anything…anything at all!  How wonderful is this feeling of peace, courage and happiness and to think that nature is found everywhere.  Only three hours from Mumbai!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Presidential Address at the 56th AGM of the Mumbai Obstetric & Gynaecological Society

It is the best of times, it is the worst of times.

The best because our chosen profession has and is progressing by leaps and bounds and leading the medical world into new fields of research, therapy and hope.Assisted reproduction today is a highly advanced field and practitioners are doing what no one believed was possible.We provided the embryos and the cord blood from where stem cell research took off and is poised to make breakthroughs in irreparable nerve cell or cardiac cell damage, manage cancer, diabetes and liver cell failure.We are at the forefront of the medical world in endoscopy. Surgeons from other specialties to suit themselves, modified procedures and instruments devised by brilliant gynecologists. We are still eons ahead of them. Today there is no pathology that master endoscopists cannot treat laparoscopically. It was a gynecologist Ian Donald who first thought to use sound waves to make images of the unborn child. Today we can diagnose and treat an ailing fetus in its mother’s womb by blood transfusion or draining an over distended bladder. As the world ages, we are still there at the next frontier with our meshes and tapes that repair aging muscle, keeping a woman continent and giving her a new life. We have a variety of options in medications for the older woman to keep her bones strong and her skin tough. That we care deeply for our patients is obvious from the fact that we are among the few surgeons who make the effort of doing a surgery through a pfannensteil or bikini cut incision and painstakingly close it so that the scar does not show. Here too we are busy trying out tummy tucks with hysterectomies or even cesarean sections. It is a matter of pride that all these latest technologies are available in our country and its medical capital, this city of Mumbai. Impossible is nothing! The story of my Presidential year 2009-10 began almost 5 years ago and started with me searching for the promised land that will bring our post-graduates closer to academics, research & newer technologies. These are difficult times with the world at war, terrorism threatening our planet, our country, our beloved city and our way of life. We cannot even hold our cricket matches in our own country. A severe economic recession grips the world and threatens our medical tourism and outsourcing industries. However there is hope as a young new president takes charge of world’s most powerful nation and speaks of change. And the youngest thus far president takes charge of the Mumbai Obstetric and Gynecological society in its 75th year and also promises that this year will be different. This will be an Indo-Israeli year. My reasons for choosing the Israelis to partner us this year, is that we have many cultural and social similarities. We both built our nations from scratch; we value education and hard work. We are quick to adapt to a new methodologies and we thirst for success and recognition. Israel is a first world country doing cutting edge research in infertility and fetal medicine and genetics and has well established protocols and procedures in endoscopy and oncology. She has graciously agreed to help her developing sister country by sending her leading doctors who will share their knowledge and expertise. Since both countries became independent, this is the first scientific collaboration for an entire year between Professional Societies. Not one, but 7 Israeli Medical Organizations have thrown their weight behind the Mumbai Obstetric & Gynecological Society (MOGS) this year! Israel is sending us 14 world leaders in their respective disciplines. Our theme for MOGS this year is: “Technology Saves Lives. Let us learn from the best”. This is what the Indo-Israeli collaboration translates to. Let us also extend this generosity to our fellow gynecologists from other towns and cities who can attend all our academic programs this year. Information about our scientific sessions will be sent all over the country- so we expect a lot of new faces in town this year. To all of you fellow gynecologists I say be the change. Lets not have any negativity this year but contribute enthusiastically as if each one of you were the president of the MOGS and organize innovative, interesting and useful sessions for us as part of our outreach programmes. We are taking the good work started by my predecessors forward. Why partner with Israel? India, the world’s biggest democracy, and Israel, one of the tiniest democracies, surprisingly have much in common. Both are the cradle to the world’s most dominant religions. Thus, for over 5000 years they have sprouted the foundations of human culture as we know it today. Both these countries have many sites which are considered the holiest to the largest number of followers all over the globe.Given India’s strong scientific and technological base, Israel is keen on strengthening professional medical ties with India. The Indo-Israeli Year presents an exciting new means to help physicians from India and Israel to establish a vibrant partnership. This is going to be one of the first official academic collaborations between the two countries ever since they both achieved independence over 60 years ago. We are all looking forward towards an unprecedented opportunity of first-hand exchange of knowledge and experience that can forward our mutual goal of extending the best health care to all women. At this time, I would like to publicly acknowledge the support system at home. Despite me being me, all I got at home was solid support & love. Thank You Swati, Akanksha, Ranveer, Daddy, Titoo, Siddharth.They say a man’s upbringing starts a hundred years before his birth. We Hindus believe our good luck now is the result of past life karma. Someone up there must like me to have blessed me with superb teachers who shaped me as a gynecologist and fertility physician and as a man.My heartfelt respect and gratitude to Dr Snehalata Deshmukh, Dr Pratibha Vaidya, Dr Geetha Niyogi, Dr Vivek Patkar, Dr Sushila Saraf, Dr PB PaiDhungat, Dr Satish Tibrewala, Dr Shashank Parulekar, Prof. O Djahanbakhch & Dr Sadhana Desai. I could not have taken on this responsibility were it it not for my capable team from Rotunda & Deccan, Kaushal, Goral, Sulbha and Anjali who have been my backbone. No man is an island though people often accuse me of being a loner. I would not be where I am today without the help, support and guidance of my dear friends – This year would not have been in its present form without the support of Dr Daniel Seidman & all my other friends. It is just once in your life that you meet someone who can change the way you look at the world. Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. I have never in my life met a person who has so influenced me with his vision, intelligence & philanthropy. Mr Ajit Gulabchand is Chairman and Managing Director of HCC – one of India’s leading construction companies and has been a catalytic factor in the infrastructure growth of India including our own Bandra-Worli sealink & Lavasa – Free India’s largest hill station spread across 12,500 acres, set amidst 7 hills and 60 kms of lakefront. Corporate Social Responsibility remains intrinsic to Mr Gulabchand’s vision for the group encompassing HIV, Education, Water, and Disaster Management initiatives. He has recently endowed a new ‘Ajit Gulabchand Chair’ on Indian Business Studies being set up at Oxford University and is a member of the Oxford International Advisory Board for Executive Education. Upon my request, he has agreed to bequeath a grand sum of Rs ten lakhs to MOGS to set up an overseas training fellowship for a young MOGS member gynecologist in memory of his mother Late Dr Shantabai Gulabchand, who was an eminent gynecologist practicing in our own city. Being an ace ranker in her college, Dr Shantabai Gulabchand secured an easy admission for MBBS in Grant Medical College of the J J Hospital. She passed the MBBS with flying colors, securing various medals to her credit, such as Viceroy’s silver trophy, Lord Sandhurst’s Gold Medal and even the National Scholarship for Indian lady doctors. After completing internship at Cama Hospital, Mumbai, Shantabai was appointed as Lecturer at Bai Motlibai and Petit Hospital. Mumbai. She believed in studies, and perused whole heartedly by completing her F.R.C.S. (Gynecology) at an early age of 26 in London. After obtaining the F.R.C.S. degree, she returned to Mumbai and started her own clinic in Girgaum, Mumbai. She possessed an entrepreneurial streak right from the beginning of her career and started a company called “Altra Laboratories” that manufactured medicines. In June 1947 she married reputed industrialist Seth Gulabchand Hirachand. She served as Director on the Board of Hindustan Construction Ltd for nearly 31 years.Even in the post independence era, Shantabai was actively involved in politics and was associated with the Swatantra Party. She also deeply believed in women empowerment and education. Thank you Sir for partnering MOGS to help out our own post-graduates & to advance science in our own city. I would like to dedicate my own Presidential year to the memory of my late mother Dr(Mrs) Sanyogita Allahbadia who strived that her children be given the best education. I am grateful to my parents for having given me a sound education and made me capable enough to be speaking before this very august audience. We will try our best to offer an amalgam of the highest academic standards with the recent advances in the field. I was particularly impressed by one of President Ronald Reagan’s memorable quotes: Aim for the top, pray to God and Hope for the best. That has been my philosophy & it will be our endeavor to strive for excellence in all aspects of this year. We promise you will we will do our best not to let you down.I believe that a true student is never satisfied or content with the knowledge gleaned . And we will all continue to remain students all our life since education is a continuous process. I’m sure we will enrich ourselves with pearls of wisdom that we will pick up from the deliberations of meetings in 2009-10. The great pleasure in life is in doing what people say you cannot do . Let us all make this a memorable year!

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized