Army officer treated with new cell-based therapy

New Delhi, July 2 (IANS) A senior army officer, who suffered a severe spinal injury causing partial paralysis, has been cured after successfully undergoing a new stem cell therapy at a hospital here, authorities said on Thursday.

Gaurav Bhatia, who was a medical officer with the Indian Army, suffered severe spinal injury after his car went off a cliff. The officer’s injury was further aggravated by rescue workers crudely hauling him up the cliffside with ropes which left the right part of his body paralysed.

While Bhatia remained in a city-based hospital for over two years with no positive results emerging out of the treatment, his family continued searching for a medical treatment that could show some progress in the patient’s health.

They finally got to know about the Human Embryonic Stem Cell (HESC) therapy and that Geeta Shroff, an expert in this new field of treatment, had helped a number of patients recover from severe spinal injuries.

The HESC therapy involves injecting isolated human embryonic stem cells into the patients to help their body heal on its own in a natural way.

The stem cell on entering the body engrafts in the appropriate tissue and supplements replacement or repair of the missing function of the body. The therapy has no known side-effects and, unlike other organ transplants, it does not require any immuno-suppressants.

According to the doctors, Bhatia underwent the therapy for a couple of months and showed positive response to the treatment. He has now completely recovered from the partial paralysis and can walk properly now.

“Of course, initially we were apprehensive but after we read about the ground-breaking technology, we became convinced about its benefits. Shroff also agreed to perform the therapy and we went ahead with the procedure,” Bhatia said in statement after the successful treatment.

Shroff, who is currently associated with Nutech Mediworld based in Green Park in south Delhi, said: “With significant development in the field of stem cells, diseases like cerebral palsy, Parkinson’s disease, type II diabetes and spinal injury, which are currently labelled as ‘incurable’ or ‘terminal’ can be treated safely and effectively.”

Describing the technology as Made in India, Shroff added that the technology is also being used to cure a number of patients from abroad, who came to India seeking medical treatment.

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