Stem Cells Show Hope To Stroke Patients
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30 October 2010
By Durgesh Nandan Jha
New Delhi, India
Speedy Recovery Of 12 Persons In Phase I Trial
Stem cell therapy is offering new hope to stroke patients. Those handicapped by the condition find it difficult to perform routine activities like walking, speaking, eating or taking bath on their own. But doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences have developed a new therapy wherein injecting stem cells from the patients’ bone marrow into the ante–cubital vein in their forearms and near the elbow can speed recovery.
Phase I trials of this therapy helped cure 12 stroke patients successfully. Phase II trials on 120 new patients are on at AIIMS, Army R&R Hospital (Delhi), PGI (Chandigarh), SGPGI (Lucknow) and the Armed Forces Medical College (Pune). The study is funded by the department of biotechnology.
During a stroke, some part of the brain is damaged irreversibly but there are neurons surrounding the affected portion of the brain which are sleeping while some are inactive, energy–less and at the risk of death.
"The stem cells are like chemical factories of molecules which help waking up the sleeping cells, activate the inactive ones and save the dying ones. They have the property to accelerate recovery too. Through all this, the stem cells limit the area of damage and ensure faster recovery," said the researcher on condition of anonymity.
Cells can treat spine injuries
Road accidents account for maximum spinal injuries in the country and the possibility of treating such cases using stem cells is being examined, health experts said on Friday. Spine injuries can leave patients paralyzed for life, and they require life–long treatment. “We are also trying to find out possibilities for treating spinal cord injuries using stem cells,” Indian Spinal Injuries Centre chairperson H P S Ahluwalia said.