A maiden attempt by doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to use stem cells for treatment of paralysed polio patients has shown “encouraging” results.
“We have recently undertaken a trial where we have used stem cells in polio patients to see if they can be relieved of their paralytic state. Results have been encouraging as one of the polio patients has shown good limb movement,” said Dr D K Gupta, head of the department of paediatric surgery, AIIMS.
Started three months ago, the method has been tried only on a handful of patients so far.
“This is just the beginning. This trial will be carried out for the next three years and we will try the approach on many more patients before we can draw any conclusion,” Gupta said.
“But if the initial results, which are so positive and encouraging, can be replicated in the rest of the cases, then it could be a ray of hope for polio patients, as there is no cure for polio yet,” he said.
Dr Shilpa Sharma, assistant professor with the department of paediatric surgery at Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital said, “Since polio is a disease of the nerve, we thought of treating it with stem cells. These stem cells are taken from the patient's own bone marrow.”
This trial was attempted after getting permission from the ethics committee and the ministry of science and technology.
“We have started the trial with children. One patient, who has shown positive results in a short span of time is now able to move her limbs. We are hopeful to get the same results for the other patients we will attempt in near future,” she said.
According to WHO, West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are polio-endemic states in India. The last case recorded in the country was on April 29 from Murshidabad district of West Bengal.