A premier hospital in the southern Indian state of Karnataka claims to have made a major breakthrough in the treatment of Parkinson's disease utilizing the stem cell therapy.
The patient Andrew Kisana, a US national, was presented to the media at Bangalore, the state capital, by the management of the Manipal Hospital.
They said the patient's bone marrow was harvested at the regenerative medicine department and the mesenchymal stem cells were injected into the part of the brain, which was affected because of Parkinson's disease. Kisana has so far received three injections.
This was the first time such a major effort was attempted in India for treatment of Parkinson's disease.
Kisana was suffering from the degenerating disorder for 15 years. After undergoing intensive drug therapy, lesion and deep brain stimulation (DBS), he came to the Manipal Hospital.
After stem cell treatment last year, he has shown remarkable recovery in his symptoms and has started walking without support. There has also been significant reduction in body tremors. Since the last six months, his medication for Parkinson's disease too has been withdrawn, doctors said.
Andrew Kisana himself typed his responses to queries on his laptop. "The successful recovery of the patient would give hope to scores of Parkinson's cases which affects one per cent of the population. The condition largely manifests in cases above 50 years, but there are younger people being affected. Stem cell therapy now gives such patients a new hope. However, we need to observe the long term clinical effects in larger number of patients to decide whether it is primary or secondary or supplementary treatment option for degenerative disorders", said Dr N.K Venkataramana, Director, Manipal Institute of Neurological Disorders.
The hospital's regenerative medicine department was currently carrying out clinical trials in stem cell therapy in 15 spinal cord injury patients and was also carrying out research in the use of stem cells in patients of heart attack and leg ischemia, Satish Totey, Chief Scientific Officer of Stempeutics Research (the regenerative medicine research arm of the hospital), said.
One of the patients with spinal cord injury and treated with stem cell injection, Ramesh said previously he was not able to move his limbs, had no sensation or control over bowel movements. "After the treatment I am able to pass urine and can move my hands. My sensations have also come back," he said.
The Manipal Hospital would launch a Stem Cell Research Centre, which would offer courses in regenerative medicine and treatment, R. Basil, CEO of Manipal Health Systems, announced.
India is now uniquely positioned in stem cell research and could emerge a clinical hub for the purpose, the Manipal management felt.