Rethinking importance of cord blood in regenerative medicine


  • Cord blood banking is not a ‘biological insurance’ and its role in regenerative medicine is hypothetical. It is recommended only if there is a family member (siblings or biological parents only), currently suffering from diseases approved to be benefitted by allogenic stem cell transplantation.

Cord Blood

  • The blood from the newborn that is still present in the placenta and umbilical cord after birth is known as cord blood.
  • Umbilical cord blood is a rich source of stem cells; i.e Hematopoietic stem cells, which are unique cells  and can be employed to cure certain disorders.
  • In the body, hematopoietic stem cells can develop into many types of blood cells.
  • Worldwide, cord blood banking is advised as a source of hematopoietic stem cells for transplantation for haematological malignancies and illnesses where its usage is advised (derived from bone marrow, peripheral blood, or umbilical cord blood).

 Cord Blood Banking

  • A System that preserves umbilical cord blood for use in the future is known as a Cord Blood Bank.
  • Private and public cord blood banks have emerged in response to the prospect of using cord blood to treat immunological and blood-related illnesses.
  • Public cord blood banks operate similarly to public blood banks in that they accept donations to be utilised for anybody in need. Historically, the medical establishment has been more open to the idea of public cord blood banking. Private cord blood banks only keep cord blood for the donor or the donor’s family to potentially use.
  • However, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) asserts that there is no scientific support for cord blood storage for future self-use, posing moral and social concerns.
  • The ICMR does not advocate using stem cells for commercial purposes and Commercial cord blood banking also.

Collection and Cryopreservation of Cord Blood

  • After the umbilical cord has been severed, cord blood is collected from the foetal end of the cord.
  • The placenta may be used to obtain more stem cells. The placenta is transported to the stem cell lab, where it is processed for extra stem cells after the healthcare professional takes cord blood from the placental end of the umbilical cord. In order to guarantee that there will be enough cells for a transplant, sufficient cord blood collection requires at least 75mL.
  • Before the cord blood is kept for future use, it is tested for viruses, such as HIV and Hepatitis B and C, and tissue typing is done to ascertain the kind of human leukocyte antigen.
  • Additionally, it will be checked for bacterial and fungal growth as well as nucleated cell count, cell viability, blood group antigen ABO & Rh blood group system, molecular cluster, and blood group antigen.
  • The cord blood unit is collected, sent to the lab for processing, and then frozen.
  • For the cord blood to survive the cryogenic process, a cryopreserved is added regardless of how the unit is processed. The cord blood unit can be placed in a liquid nitrogen tank to maintain freezing at 196 °C after being gradually cooled to 90 °C.

Uses of Cord Blood

  • Despite primarily coming from donors, cord blood stem cells are now being used to treat a number of deadly diseases, most notably malignanciesblood disorders, and genetic diseases of the blood and immune system.
  • Recent research has revealed that cord blood transplants have special benefits over conventional bone marrow transplants, especially for children.
  • In rare circumstances where a suitable bone marrow donor cannot be found, cord blood transplants can even save a patient’s life.
  • There is a 25% probability that siblings will match, and there is a 50% chance that grandparents and parents will match using cord blood.

Advantages of Cord Blood Banking

  • Compared to bone marrow, more people can obtain stem cells from cord blood. This is due to the fact that, unlike a bone marrow transplant, cord blood does not need to closely match the recipient’s own blood.
  • The probability that a person’s body will reject stem cells from cord blood is lower than that of bone marrow.
  • During cancer therapies, cord blood stem cells may help the immune system. This is not a method of using bone marrow stem cells.
  • Compared to collecting bone marrow, collecting cord blood is less difficult, uncomfortable, and dangerous for the donor.
  • The newborn or the person giving birth is not in danger from the cord blood harvest.

Concerns Related to Cord Blood Banking

  • It may not be wise or effective to use one’s own cord blood cells, particularly in situations of leukaemia and cancer in children. Because the blood also carries the same genetic abnormality, children who develop immunological disorders frequently cannot receive a transplant using their own cord blood.
  • Additional problems include the potential for the cord blood unit to be contaminated with same cancer that was discovered later in life.


  • Commercial cord blood banking involves storing a newborn’s umbilical cord blood stem cells for potential future medical use.
  • The decision to bank cord blood is personal and should be based on individual circumstances and considerations such as the family history of genetic disorders and the likelihood of using the stored cells.
  • It is important to carefully research and compare different cord blood banking options and consider the cost, storage options, and reputation of the facility before making a decision.

Editorial 2: An organised counter to organised hate


  • There needs to be an inspiring alternative agenda that enthuses India and which can move the silent majority away from the climate of hate


  • The communal disturbances in Maharashtra, the performative religiosity in the new Parliament’s inauguration and The Kerala Story are all intrinsic to the vitiating mass consciousness
  • Such issues typically pit Hindus against Muslims, elite establishmentarians against grounded ‘nationalists’ and constitutional values against ‘traditional’ values.
  • Despite this war’s profound impact on India’s social fabric, little attention has been devoted to analysing why atavistic tendencies acquire a social base. If most Indians live by the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb, nothing could make them communal, xenophobic, casteist, patriarchal or racist.
  •  Yet, studies show that India has become radicalised and socially conservative. To reverse the flames engulfing India dissecting the black box of hate is critical.

The anatomy of organised hate

  • There are broadly three types of hatred today — organised, inherited and absorbed hate.
  • The first is invariably for partisan ends. Inherited hate is generationally passed down (usually caste, communal and gender prejudices), which is fertile soil for the champions of organised hate. Finally, absorbed hate is a disease afflicting the silent majority.
  • Progressive forces invariably counter the visible champions of organised hate, including party spokespersons, aligned influencers and organisations, as well as troll armies. They also resort to debunking misinformation or cornering regressive stances/action.
  •  Furthermore, their propaganda is complemented by a vast network of socio-cultural and religious organisations that subterraneanly spearhead ideological projects.

Structurally combating hate

Whole communities have shrivelled in the face of the hatred engulfing India. Given this, there are both moral and pragmatic considerations to frontally tackle the fear that breeds regressive attitudes.

  • First, we progressives need to acknowledge pre-existing societal fears of losing out on economic and political opportunities, and redress them. Given this, progressives need to carefully assuage such fears. A first step could be posing an inspiring alternative agenda that enthuses India. Only then can we wean away the silent majority from the claws of hatred.
  • Secondly, progressive parties also need to put boots on the ground. In that spirit, they must actively collaborate with civil society, which transcends electoral exigencies. Serving as a complementary system, this could become both a response mechanism to conflagrations, and a network of progressive ideological projects. This would facilitate the forging of fresh relationships with new constituencies.
  • Furthermore, progressive parties can substantively constrict regressive activities when in office, as the recently elected Karnataka government is doing. Just to cite some obvious examples, organisations frequently showcase movies to vitiate public discourse, conduct processions and sansads to disrupt the peace. While states can ban such organisations, this is only a stopgap since they invariably remerge in a new avatar.
  • Fourth, progressives also need to check benefactors of regressive causes. A conflagration is sometimes a smokescreen to promote narrow economic interests.
  •  Similarly, select diaspora groups support regressive projects for preferential treatment in commercial ventures in India. Mapping this financial infrastructure of hate would enable targeted counters using state instruments.


  • Today, more than ever, India needs an organised, programmatic and political counter to hate. We do not have the luxury to wait for an organic mass psychological realignment.

Strike a fine balance, have a just civil code


Recently the Law Commission of India decided to solicit views and proposals from the public about the Uniform Civil Code (UCC). After a hiatus of just five years, when the Commission had concluded that the ‘UCC is neither necessary nor desirable’, the move now is one that keeps the pot boiling on one of India’s most ideologically as well as politically rivalled issue.

Autonomy versus authority

  • The question of personal laws is basically the question of personal and religious autonomy versus the state’s authority to reform familial relations. Since each religious group has cultural autonomy, it is thus being argued that the community should itself come forward to seek reforms. This is the justification for the adoption of internal law reform or voluntary UCC.
  • In fact, the Special Marriage Act, 1954 and the Indian Succession Act, 1925 are nothing but examples of voluntary adoption of the UCC though the recently enacted love jihad laws by prohibiting inter-faith marriages basically violate the spirit of Special Marriage Act.
  • At present, not just Muslims but even Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Parsis, and Jews are governed by their own personal laws. Accordingly, believe it or not, it is the religious identity that determines which personal law would apply to a group of individuals.
  • The Constitution was not the starting point but a mere culmination of India’s long-standing integrative traditions. In addition to the provisions that outlaw discrimination in all its forms, the Indian Constitution’s commitment to cultural accommodation is visible through a near-absolute fundamental right in Article 29(1) dedicated exclusively to conserving the distinctive culture of all citizens.

Unity more than uniformity

  • That said, the Commission must bear in its recommendation that for a diverse and multicultural polity such as India, the proposed UCC must be emblematic of India’s ‘mosaic model’ of multiculturalism.
  • After all, unity is far more important than uniformity. The British brought homogeneity amongst Hindus and Muslims by grossly undermining heterogeneity within the two religious communities.
  • Under the Indian Constitution, the right to cultural autonomy defends the Indian model of multiculturalism.
  • Accordingly, the 21st Law Commission (2015-18) had boldly favoured equality between men and women in communities rather than aiming for equality between communities. A just code should be the primary goal as just laws are more important than a mere one uniform law.
  • India’s tryst with preserving its multicultural diversity is often found at the crossroads with values such as secularism. Despite secularism being a fundamental tenet governing the Indian polity, India decided not to adopt the French model of laïcité, which strictly prohibits bearing any religious outfit or marker in public; that considers religion in public as a threat.
  • Indian society, therefore, ‘accommodates’ and not just ‘tolerates’ the wide array of group and ethnic differences.

Hurdles on the path ahead

  • Simultaneously, we must understand that when a community feels threatened in any way, whether rightly or wrongly so, the collective esteem of its members becomes woven to the community, and community allegiance becomes much stronger.
  • Therefore, one hopes that the Law Commission of India would not contribute to the rise of reactive culturalism amongst different communities in India, including Muslims.
  • The Muslim community too must understand that the Muslim Personal Law (MPL) and Islam are not one and the same. The MPL is a jurist given law and is not entirely divine.
  • Let the Muslim clergy come forward and lead the MPL reform process by identifying the discriminatory and oppressive issues and adopt the views of progressive jurists.


As the Commission proposes an overhauling secularisation of various socio-religious-cultural practices that have been the mainstay of thousands of religious and ethnic communities since times immemorial, the path ahead is not going to be free from hurdles.

Editorial 2 : Warm welcome


The Prime Minister visit to United States further strengthened the ties between India and the U.S.


  • Rolling out the red carpet for Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his state visit to Washington, U.S. President Joseph Biden underlined his belief that the India-U.S. partnership will be one of the “defining relationships of the 21st century”,
  • The phrase mirrored the one used by U.S. President Barack Obama at the state banquet for former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2009 — one of the “defining partnerships of the 21st century” — denoting the consistent strengthening of ties over the first two decades of the century.

The Deals

  • The visit by Mr. Modi, his first state visit to the U.S., has not disappointed votaries of the relationship. The two sides announced new deals involving high-end defence cooperation, semiconductor industry investments, and a partnership in quantum and advanced computing and AI.
  • The deal for co-production of jet engines in India will involve an unprecedented level of technology transfer.
  • India’s decision to join the 11-nation mineral security partnership for critical minerals, where China has a global monopoly, and cooperation on critical and emerging technologies, particularly in clean energy, will strengthen future cooperation here.
  • Finally, India’s move to sign on to the 27-nation Artemis Accords for cooperation in space exploration, and the NASA-ISRO partnerships for human spaceflight will also catapult India’s ambitions in the sphere.

India’s Relations with the US

  • The U.S.-India strategic partnership is founded on shared values including a commitment to democracy and upholding the rules-based international system.
  • Both have shared interests in promoting global security, stability, and economic prosperity through trade, investment, and connectivity.
  • The U.S. has emerged as India’s biggest trading partner in 2022-23 on account of increasing economic ties between the two countries.
  • The bilateral trade between India and the U.S. has increased by 7.65%. Exports to the U.S. rose by 2.81% while imports grew by about 16%.
  • India and the United States cooperate closely at multilateral organizations, including the United Nations, G-20, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.
  • Together with Australia and Japan, the United States and India convene as the Quad to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific and provide tangible benefits to the region.
  • India is also one of twelve countries partnering with the United States on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF).
  • India is a member of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), at which the United States is a dialogue partner.
  • In 2021, the United States joined the International Solar Alliance headquartered in India, and in 2022 the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

Way Forward

  • The partnership between the two countries is critical for ensuring a free, open, and rules-bound Indo-Pacific region.
  • The unparalleled Demographic Dividend provides enormous opportunities for the US and Indian firms for technology transfer, manufacturing, trade and investment.
  • India is emerging as a leading player in an international system that is undergoing an unprecedented transformation. It shall use its present situation to explore opportunities to further its vital interests.


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