Paraplegics Return to Normal Life After Adult Stem Cell Treatment
MedIndia.net, June 15, 2007
Thanks to a breakthrough stem cells treatments being offered in India, those individuals who have complete paralysis of the lower half of the body could potentially walk once again.
Many paraplegics have been able to return to normal life after being treated at the Lifeline Multi-Specialty Hospital (LMSH). The hospital has nearly perfected the treatment they use to give paraplegics that ability to walk.
The U.S. was among the technologically advanced countries that deemed the use of autologous bone marrow fluids containing stem cells as a futile treatment for paraplegics. But the research and development division of LMSH, The Lifeline Institute of Stem Cell Therapy and Research (LISTR), was able to achieve this very "impossibility" using the self generated stem cells.
The treatments provide a path away from embryonic stem cells and away from controversy.
It was not long ago that the lack of a cure for paralysis confined the man who once played "Superman" on the big screen to a wheelchair. Hollywood star Christopher Reeves supported the research while waiting and hoping during the last part of his life for a cure.
"Using the money provided by the late movie icon to improve the lot of paraplegics throughout the world, we have turned four ordinary people who faced a dismal future into supermen," said J. S. Raj Kumar, the chairman of LMSH.
After losing the ability to be mobile as a result of rare medical disorders or due to accident, all four of these men had no hope.
But now, with no signs remaining of his debilitating condition, 25-year-old Akbar has made a full recovery. After being involved in a construction accident in Dubai last year, he was brought to LMSH on a stretcher while in a coma. His parents are now searching for a bride so that Akbar can be wed because his recovery has been so encouraging.
"We harvest between 100 and 200 ml of stem cells in fluid form from the afflicted patients themselves and inject them into their spinal cords carefully to bring about this 'miracle' that has been cleared by statutory health bodies not only in India, but also in all major premier medical institutions abroad including the US."
"We have the highest global rate of success of 34 percent after sustained treatment to 50 select patients," said Raj Kumar.
More remarkable results can be found when one studies the cases of Transverse Myelitis (a devastating inflammation of the spinal cord that can cause irreversible paralysis) sufferer Srinivas, who an aspiring accountant from Chennai, and also Prabhdeep, a musician from Punjab who was paralyzed following a motor accident. Both patients are 19-years-old.
"I had no feeling from the chest downwards after the mishap. Now I can walk with a little help," said Singh, whose legs were encased in braces and moved with the assistance of attendants and a metal contrivance."
In his lower abdomen, Srivnivas has now regained feeling. He has also regained bladder control.
The treatment has not been limited to only the young either despite Dr. Kumar's preference to treat "quicker and better healing" younger patients. After falling on his back from a height of 11 feet about two months ago, 46-year-old A. R. K. Reddy opted for the treatment. He was rendered completely immobile after his lumbar spine was fractured in multiple places.
Today, after the stem cell treatment, the engineer who was employed in a multinational company, has regained sensation in the lower body as well as control over his bladder. He can now stand up and move using a walker.
Paraplegics aren't the only patients who can benefit from stem cell treatment.
Stem cells can be a viable alternative for cardiac bypass surgeries and liver transplants. LISTR worked on developing stem cell treatments for these other conditions in conjunction with Japan's Nichi Centre for Regenerative Medicine (NCRM).
"Stem cell therapy can cure disabled livers, rejuvenate tired hearts, and make the pancreas of chronic diabetes patients secrete insulin to reduce dependency on injections and pills for a lifetime," said Raj Kumar.
The cost is another appealing aspect. With a success rate of below 15 percent and a cost of almost 20 times more, regular treatments like transplants are a waste considering only Rs.150,000 ($3,700 U.S. dollars) is needed for a stem cell treatment.
17 patients have shown marked improvement out of the 50 who are under intensive treatment. Another 100 are waiting in line to benefit from the remarkable stem cell treatments after being inspired by the recovery of so many other patients.