Stem cell therapy, which has over the last few years, grown in potential to cure several diseases that were so far considered incurable, has also been considered a route only limited to the elite.
Storing stem cells for a few months at a bank would cost a minimum of Rs 20,000. And the banks, even endorsed by actresses like Aishwarya Rai and Namrata Shirodkar, were a private option limited only to immediate family.
But at the Prasad Hospital, doctors are now storing and treating people with stem cell technology that has the potential to cure cancer and diabetes and sports injuries. Dr Suma Prasad says, “So far we were getting frozen cells from Pune and Ahmedabad. The cells would not only take time to reach, but also in the process of thawing and preparing them for treatment, we would lose a lot of them.”
After eight years of research by a group of doctors including gynaecologists, IVF specialists, pediatricians, scientists, engineers and even orthopaedic surgeons, the hospital now not only stores stem cells for treatment but also houses an active research and development centre and training.
“We realise that it is important for us to also pass on the knowledge we have collected to the next generation,” says CCMB scientist Dr Gopal Pande, who was backed by Dr Tripura and Dr Lakshmi Rao in the research. The team is also hoping to broaden the application of stem cell therapy to various fields, and the first one they are aiming for is sports.
“We are also in talks with the likes of Pullela Gopichand to help with injuries of sportspersons. For athletes, injuries mean the end of one’s career. It doesn’t have to be so with stem cell therapy as it has the potential to take on challenges where pharma fails,” adds Dr Suma Prasad.
While cases of survival due to stem cell therapy in a few kinds of cancer patients are many, this therapy can also wipe out the need for surgeries like knee replacement and even amputation due to Critical Limb Ischemia or even cure spinal cord injuries due to accidents....