New Delhi: Stem Cell treatment or the Human Embryonic Stem Cells (HESC) is effective in the replacement of damaged neurons, re-establishment of lost axonal connections, and providing of neuro-protective factors to allow the healing and recovery of spinal cord injury, revealed a study.
According to the study conducted over several years, HESC play a vital role in treating neurological disorders and have a huge potential for differentiation and can provide neuronal or glial cells for transplantation.
The research study was conducted by a team led by stem cell expert Geeta Shroff.
According to the study, the data used for the research was of patients with spinal cord injury from May 24, 2005, to August 31, 2012, received at city based Nutech Mediworld.
"The research started in 2002, with 33 patients suffering from incurable diseases. Thereafter, the safety and efficacy of the therapy, dose schedule, and protocol for administration of HESCs and therapy schedule were established in a pilot study conducted on 72 patients," said the study.
With the success of pilot study, another study was done on 108 patients with spinal cord injury that verified the safety and efficacy of HESC in them.
Medical Sciences say a spinal cord injury can be any damage to the spinal cord that changes its function, temporary or permanently.
There have been several strategies to improve neurological recovery, such as surgical intervention, physiotherapy, and pharmacological interventions, but none of these have proven to be effective.
Following the two success stories, one more study was conducted on 226 patients with spinal cord injuries. The study was performed under proper supervision of a team of physicians that included external consultants and validated by an external clinical research organisation.
According to the study reports, after confirmation of diagnosis, the patients were tested for hypersensitivity reactions with HESCs (0.05 mL HESC injected subcutaneously).
The study consisted of three treatment phases with gap phases in between so that the HESCs could grow, repair, and regenerate the affected part.
"After the hypersensitivity testing, the patients entered the treatment phase, T1, T2, T3. Each treatment phase lasted 4-6 weeks and was 4-8 months apart. The physicians regularly administered the HESCs during the treatment. No immune-suppressants were given to the patients. In addition to HESC therapy, all the patients received physiotherapy and occupational therapy," said the study.
The rehabilitation focused on overall improvement of the patient and mobilisation of the patient was performed using different ambulatory aids.
"The findings and results of the research showed dramatic changes in each phase. Out of the 226 patients examined 3/4th were men with a mean age of 28 years. At the end of T1, 45 per cent of the patients improved by at least one ASIA grade. At the end of T2, 58 per cent of the patients improved by at least one ASIA grade, and at the end of T3, 70 per cent of the patients improved by at least one ASIA grade," said Shroff.