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Stem cells will now take on Parkinson's

Thursday August 27, 2009

Sumitra Deb Roy

DNA - Taking the research of stem cell usage to treat Parkinson's disease a step further, doctors at Jaslok Hospital injected patient's own stem cells to his brain.

The hospital claimed it was the world's first clinical trial for Parkinson's disease (PD).

Fifty-five-year-old Bhawarlal Jain, who had great difficulty in walking and talking, was diagnosed with this brain degenerative disease six years ago.

"My hands became stiff and my movements got restricted. It gradually started affecting my daily activities," he said. He underwent the procedure on August 8 and doctors will monitor him for the next 18 months to conclude if transplanting stem cells can cure the Parkinson's disease.

In Jain's case, bone marrow was taken from his hip bone. "The stem cells were cultivated and processed for two-three weeks at Reliance Life Sciences and injected in the patient's brain," said Dr Paresh Doshi, head, department of stereotactic and functional neurosurgery at Jaslok Hospital.

"Neural transplant is the only procedure that can restore the normal functions like speech, motor activities," he said.

Doshi said that in advanced stages of PD, medicines stop having any affect after a point. Jain was injected the cells under local anaesthesia as the patient is required to be in senses.

"Also, the cells are from patient's own bone marrow so there are no chances of rejection," said Doshi. Chances of abnormal growth of cells are also ruled out as the mesenchymal cells stop growing after a point. The hospital will be performing 10 such cases and evaluate them over a period of three years.