|01-01-2007, 08:32 AM||#1|
Join Date: Jul 2001
PGI raises hope for spinal cord injury patients
By Indian Express
Monday January 1, 03:40 AM
This year, PGI will start experimentation of stem cells on spinal cord injury victims. Success in this can bring hope to thousands of patients suffering from complete spinal cord injury, as no cure is yet available for them.
"When the vertebrae is fractured, the broken fragments press into the soft tissues of the spinal cord, thus damaging them," said Dr Raj Bahadur, Department of Orthopaedics. "Since the spinal cord acts as the main information pathway between the brain and the rest of the body, a spinal cord injury can have significant consequences."
Depending on the level, a person may suffer from complete or incomplete injury. Persons with an incomplete injury have some spared sensory or motor function below the level of injury - the spinal cord is not totally damaged or disrupted. In a complete injury, nerve damage obstructs every signal coming from the brain to the body parts below the injury.
"A spinal cord needs more protection than any other organ or system because unlike other organs, the spinal cord cannot repair itself," said the doctor.
"After complete injury, the nerve-fibres in the spinal cord are damaged. And since they do not have a natural ability to regrow, the patient cannot recover," he said. "We will attempt to see if inserting stem cells aids the regeneration and fills the gaps created by damage, thus leading to recovery."
The procedure involves cutting open the dura - the tough outer covering that surrounds the spinal cord - and placing the stem cells on the site of the injury. "Since patients with complete injury don't have any cure or permanent treatment as of now, successful experimentation of stem cells will bring a new chapter in its treatment," Dr Bahadur said. The entire procedure will cost a patient Rs 6,000.
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