New Delhi: Fifty five-year-old Bhadwan Dass from Haryana, a diabetic, was close to losing his leg due to gangrene. But a hospital on Delhi`s outskirts has used stem cell transplant to save his leg from being amputated.
Dass, hailing from Hisar, underwent the surgery in December at the Asian Institute of Medical Science in Faridabad.
"Patients such as Dass with critical blocks in leg vessels and impending gangrene of the leg cannot undergo bypass procedure or angioplasty as they have been through the procedure once," said Mukesh Goel, chief cardiac surgeon of the cardio-thoracic vascular unit of the hospital.
"Such patients have no option but to undergo a major amputation. However, stem cell therapy has upto 75 percent chances of making the condition better," he said.
The stem cells were generated from Dass`s own bone marrow, harvested from his hip bones.
"Nearly 180 ml of bone marrow was taken from the patient and it was processed from which we got 48 ml of concentrate stem cells which were injected at multiple spots on his legs," he said.
"This creates new blood vessels and improves blood flow, making the condition better"
The doctors say that the therapy`s success will be known only in six to eight weeks, however, the amputation will be significantly reduced.
"The patient has already reported reduction in intake of pain killers and antibiotics. When he came, half of his leg was black and he needed amputation from his thighs. We hope we can now save some part of his leg," Goel said.
The government, however, has not been very appreciative of the technique. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) director V.M. Katoch recently said that stem cell therapy should be limited to research only.
"ICMR`s stand is very clear. The director has said that private hospitals should use the therapy for research, not for treatment," an ICMR official said.
"An apex committee has been formed which will soon come up with the rules and regulation for stem cell therapy. However, till the Bio-Medical Research Bill is passed in parliament, no action can be taken in such cases," he added.
The bill is likely to be tabled in the upcoming budget session of the parliament.
The doctor, however, says that there is nothing unethical in treating a patient by cells extracted from his own body.
"There are two types of stem cells. The one derived from embryos are considered unethical but in this case, it is the patient`s own bone marrow that was used," Goel said.
"Techniques for treatment keep changing. This treatment has been used when no other option was available. The value of human life is more than technique," he said.
Some time back, Fortis HOspital had used the technique for a paraplegic patient.