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HindustanTimes Sat,29 Nov 2014

New research makes scientists hopeful

Vanita Srivastava, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, March 24, 2013
First Published: 00:24 IST(24/3/2013) | Last Updated: 00:26 IST(24/3/2013)

Patients with extreme drug resistant tuberculosis can be treated by mesenchymal stromal cells adjunct-therapy, according to an international expert.

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“This calls for robust, biologically and clinically sound treatment concepts to reduce inflammation in lungs. It has been done in the past in patients with other inflammatory diseases, and could be achieved in patients with drug-resistant TB,” says Markus Maeurer, head (therapeutic immunology), Karolinska Hospital, Sweden.

Maeurer was in Delhi as a speaker of the foundation day of Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).

A phase I study — to ensure that the treatment is safe — has been completed in collaboration with TB doctors in Belarus, he said, adding: “The patients had a strong inflammation in lungs and were treated with their own mesenchymal cells.”

This is a new medical intervention and more studies are needed, he said. “I am looking for positive discussions with experts in India.”

Stating that trials had been done on 30 persons, he said in all the cases the response was positive. “Treating the extreme drug resistant patients is a major challenge. In most of the cases, the risk of death in 12 months is 30%. On an average, three out of 10 persons face death by the disease.”

Explaining the process, he said, “We take out the cells, expand them in laboratory and transfer them back. The expansion of these cells has to run parallel with the treatment and could stretch up to 14 days.”


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