Will you believe that now one can make a uterus or a kidney inside one'sbody itself ? Even 25 years ago, no one would believe what Dr. Matapurkar had said. But, he proved that just as a tree brings out a fresh branch where one has already been cut off or just as the lizard grows a new tail after dropping its old one, the same is also possible with a human body. On the basis of a stem cell, the uterus, kidney, in fact, even the intestines can be made. On one hand, while American scientists claim to have made a human clone in the laboratory, Dr. Balakrishna Ganapat Matapurkar has already received the patent for reproducing any part of the body by taking out the stem cells from that part.
He wrote the first article on this technique in 1991, but, in that, he did not say how this was possible. The reason was that the world community, at that time, was not ready to digest the fact of developing new organs from the stem cell. This article was the result of fifteen years of very hard work. In 1999, he revealed that the basis of what he had written about the creation of a part inside the body was the stem cell. Cloning depends completely on the principle of stem cell.
Human embryo is made up of only three cells. It is from these cells only that the whole body is developed later on. Stem cell is one of these, and is found in every part of the body. Matapurkar used this cell to make up the new parts and tissues. The experiments done on monkeys and dogs were successful and through this process itself, he developed a uterus within three months. Now experiments on human beings have started. Negating the apprehensions about the biological disorder completely, he says, ?A human body itself is such a factory which supplies the raw material to manufacture a new part. Hence, the question of disorder does not arise. Lakhs of people die every year because of kidney failure. This techniques will change the entire scenario.?
You will probably be even more amazed to read that Matapurkar does not consider his research new. He says, ?There is nothing new in what I have done. Our ancestors had done this in the age of the Mahabharata itself. One day, a question suddenly arose in may mind that if we consider the Mahabharata to be true, then how would Gandhaari have given birth to 100 children? I found the answer to this question in Chapter 115 of the Adi Parv in the Mahabharata. I was surprised to read that it had the description of the entire scientific process of giving birth to 100 Kauravas from the stem cell. I realised on that day that I was not doing anything new.?
The description in the Adi Parv of the Mahabharata is as under:
Kunti had given birth to a son who had the brilliance of the sun. When Gandhari, who despite having conceived for two years had not had a child, heard this, she was disturbed and aborted herself. A blob of flesh as hard as iron, came out. Sage Dwaipaayan Vyas was called in. He examined that blob of flesh. He cooled it in a pot and secured it by wetting it completely with special medicines. Then, he divided this into 100 parts and put each part securely in separate vessels full of ghee for two years. After two years, the 100 Kauravas were born serially.
While studying, his imagination started working. He says that his interest in gardening is the source of this imagination. When he sees a plant sprouting out of a cell and later, when he sees new branches coming out after pruning, he realises that ?nature has a treasure of intelligence?. Born in Gwalior in 1941, Matapurkar received his degree in surgery from Gajra Raje Medical College. Then, while working in the Maulana Azad Medical College, he developed the technique of making the parts of the body rather than transplanting them. He regrets the fact that the majority of Indian doctors only follow the west and consider them to be the best. He says, ?There is nothing more ironical than the fact that people acknowledged my work only after it got a patent in America. Is this not mental slavery?? Seeing his work, three institutions have been started in the US and multinational companies are spending billions of dollars on this project. When he applied for the American patent in 1996, the US had started, for the first time, to work on the ?stem cell?. In fact it was only after his research that the word stem cell came into vogue.
Human cloning is an effort to create an identical human being but Matapurkar'stechnique is to remake the parts of the body. Creating an identical person is not just against nature, it is also immoral. Matapurkar says that the technique should be such that it should make human life better. Matapurkar does not want to use his technique commercially. He wants the students to learn this technique so that it soon becomes a general process of treatment. In his words, research is the name given to a craze or a mania which requires imagination, submission, patience, hard work and the strength to struggle. He has his own definition of a meaningful life. He seeks the help of a Marathi shloka of Swami Ramdas and says ?marave pari keerti roope urave? meaning that everyone has to die but one'sfame must live on and Matapurkar has shown this. The last line of patent he has received is??this discovery can really create parts of a human body and can make them new.?
(This book is available with Ocean Books (P) Ltd. 4/19 Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi-110 002.)