India Stem Cell Therapy for Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy



After receiving stem cell therapy in April, a Nahik-based basketball coach can now confidently ride a bus to Mumbai for his appointments without fear that he might lose his balance.

Diagnosed with a Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (LGMD) when he was 19, Saline Salve can now more easily perform his day-to-day activities unlike in the past months when he cannot even apply shampoo to his hair or flip the pages of newspapers.

LGMD, an incurable disorder which affects voluntary muscles particularly those around the pelvic and shoulder region, is caused by the absence of some proteins in the muscles and leads to muscle degeneration.

In the stem cell therapy he underwent, stem cells were injected around Salve’s spinal cord to form the missing proteins in his muscles. The stem cells will reportedly slow down muscle degeneration.

Dr. Nandini Gokulchandran, head of clinical research at Chemur Cinic Neurogen, says patients who receive stem cells therapies also undergo physiotherapy and occupational therapy as part of their rehabilitation. Salve’s routine of throwing basketballs helps mobilize the stem cells to the areas of the body where they are needed, Dr. Gokulchandran adds.

Salve coaches 14 basketball players who were selected for this year’s state team. He can now spend 12 hours in the field instead of the 4 hours he used to spend before he had his stem cell treatment.

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Illegal Stem Cell Treatments in India
28 October 2010

If you are planning to undergo stem cell therapy in India, it might interest you to know that Indian health authorities have not approved most stem cell treatment for patients. The only stem cell therapy approved for clinical application is for bone marrow treatments. The rest are considered illegal.

According to Indian Express, the government has only approved stem cell research activities but some hospitals and clinics are illegally conducting stem cell treatments.

Says Dr V M Katoch, Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR):

“The current guidelines, implemented in 2007 pertain only to research activities. But many leading private hospitals across the country are clinically implementing treatments that are still in the trial stage, particularly for neurological disorders.

Brain tissue regeneration and many umbilical cord blood cell treatments being practised have not been cleared by the Government of India.”

According to the ICMR Director General, his agency is planning to issue a new set of guidelines that deals with stem cell treatment. “The Clinical Establishment Bill, which deals with clinical aspects of treatment and hospital functioning, is likely to be passed in the winter session. This Act specifically deals with practical aspects of stem cell management, defining what is permitted,” Dr. Katoch says.