CHENNAI : I used to be called Aurangzeb because I had no interest in arts,” said physician and self-taught nature photographer, Dr Srinivasan Periathiruvadi at a talk titled, ‘DNA of Travel’ that was conducted on Saturday. But as time passed, he started falling in love with arts, especially photography. Srinivasan, co-founder and chairman of Jeevan Stem Cell Bank, had his first solo exhibition in 2012 at Lalit Kala Akademi.
He has explored the Indian and African wilderness, the Himalayas, the Arctic and the Antarctic. At the event, he shared some of his fascinating stories and breathtaking images. Srinivasan’s images are available on www.natureimages.in and the rights belong to the Jeevan Stem Cell Research Foundation. “We collected `18 lakh from the last two exhibitions. All the funds go towards Jeevan Stem Cell Bank, which enables quick and affordable or free access to matching stem cells from donated cord blood and bone marrow donors to Indian children with blood cancer and Thalassemia.”
The foundation is creating a Bone Marrow Registry, a database of potential stem cell donors, whose Human Leucocyte Antigen (HLA) is typed by Jeevan and stored in a server. When a patient needs a donor, matching donor is identified from the database, counselled, medically examined and then encouraged to donate stem cells. These stem cells are used for the treatment of patients.
“As the matching of DNA between donor and recipient is ethnicity dependent, the chances of an Indian child finding a match in the international registries is less than 10 per cent,” he said. “Even if you are lucky to find one it will cost over `30 lakh. It costs Jeevan an equivalent of $500 for each unit of stem cells, using the same technology and same international standards. Jeevan’s commitment is to make a matching unit available, free of cost to all those with a family income of less than `10 lakh”
Jeevan Bone Marrow Donor Registry was established in 2015, to recruit potential adult stem cell donors from regular blood donors. The cost of recruiting, HLA typing and maintaining the registry will be `5,000, per donor. Donations, registering and more information can be found on http://www.bethecure.in/