25 March 2010
By Sumitra Deb Roy
Two years ago, Priyanshu fell prey to Duchenne muscular dystrophy–a genetic disorder characterized by rapid progression of muscle degeneration. “Priyanshu would often fall while trying to walk or run. Gradually, he could not even sit properly or turn sides on his own while sleeping,” said Vijay.
When the child’s condition continued to deteriorate, the family rushed to the Lucknow Medical College,where doctors confirmed their worst fears: Priyanshu’s ailment was not treatable.
Not willing to give up so soon, Vijay, who had been reading up about his son’s ailment, decided to give stem cell therapy a shot. “But my friends and relatives didn’t approve of my decision,” said Vijay, who decided to go ahead with the plan and spent over Rs one lakh on his son’s treatment.
Last December, Priyanshu was injected with first session of mesenchymal stem cell. But the boy’s condition improved only recently. “Till a fortnight ago, there was hardly any improvement. Then one night, Priyanshu woke up, sat upright and asked for water. It was worth every penny we had spent,” said Vijay.
Consultant orthopaedic and joint replacement surgeon at Breach Candy Hospital Dr B S Rajput, who did the cell transplantation, said, “Three months ago, there was no movement in the boy’s upper limbs. The treatment has started showing results.”
Unit head of orthopaedic department at BYL Nair Hospital, Dr Naushad Hussain, said that stem cells have enormous potential. “It is an expensive affair, but there’s no harm in trying it,” he said.