The trial is the first of its kind globally
Marking a turning point in the realm of medical science, India has initiated the first human clinical trial for gene therapy targeting haemophilia A, conducted at the esteemed Christian Medical College (CMC) Vellore. This development was announced by the Union Minister for Science & Technology Jitendra Singh, amidst the the National Science Day 2024 celebrations held in  New Delhi on Wednesday (February 28, 2024).

The innovative clinical trial, a collaborative effort supported by the Department of Biotechnology, the Centre for Stem Cell Research - a unit of InStem Bengaluru, and Emory University, USA, employs a sophisticated lentiviral vector technology. This avant-garde approach aims to introduce a FVIII transgene into the patient's own haematopoietic stem cells, thereby enabling specific differentiated blood cells to synthesize Factor VIII, the essential blood-clotting protein that is deficient in individuals afflicted with haemophilia A.

Singh shared his enthusiasm for the promising future of this first of its kind therapy within India, revealing plans to initiate the vector's manufacturing process shortly, followed by further clinical trials. This initiative offers a sustainable and long-lasting solution for those affected by this challenging condition.

India's Scientific Renaissance: Echoes of the "Raman Effect"

Drawing inspiration from the illustrious Nobel Laureate Sir CV Raman, Singh illuminated the profound impact of the "Raman Effect" on India's scientific evolution under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He specified the critical role of science and technology in sculpting the blueprint for a developed India, or "Viksit Bharat."

Singh elaborated on India's remarkable ascendancy in the global science and technology arena, highlighting the exponential growth of the country's bio-economy and its prestigious status as the world's third-largest startup ecosystem. With strides in quantum technology, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, India is not only aligning with global standards but, in several instances, surpassing them, setting new benchmarks in scientific excellence.

In a commendable stride towards gender equality, Singh lauded the enhanced participation and leadership of women within the scientific community under Prime Minister Modi's governance.

India's Global Footprint in Science

India's contributions to science have propelled the nation onto the global stage, as evidenced by its leadership in scientific research publications and a notable ascent in innovation indexes. Dr. Singh celebrated India's scientific prowess, emphasizing its pivotal role in shaping both national and global futures.

On the occasion of National Science Day, themed 'Indigenous Technologies for Viksit Bharat,' the event spotlighted India's innovative spirit and its contributions to global science, including its acclaimed vaccine development efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. The release of a compendium of SATHI Clusters and a white paper on e-Mobility further aims to harness technology for a sustainable and prosperous future.

The inauguration of the first human clinical trial for gene therapy in haemophilia A at CMC Vellore, coupled with India's extensive scientific achievements, announces a new era of healthcare innovation. It positions India as a formidable force in the global scientific community, ready to lead with pioneering breakthroughs and transformative technologies.