Stem Cell Treatment In India

The medical development in regards to stem cells is somewhat new in medical history. It is one of the modern marvels we humans have found out in the last decade. Stem cells can cure as many as 80 diseases in theory. Many kinds of cancer and non-cancerous blood diseases are being commonly being cured by stem cell treatment nowadays.

Stem cells have the ability to develop into any kind of tissue cell, let it be muscle, blood or any other tissue. In fact, in a mother’s womb, a child’s whole body is formed by a stem cell. Stem in certain animals such as salamander and lizards have the ability to regenerate body parts, although we have not yet discovered a way to do so in humans the research still is going on. 

Clinical trials have been going on for many stem cell therapies in the last couple of years. Government has only authorized a certain type of stem cell therapies for now. The most common diseases that are cured by stem cells are blood cancers and some autoimmune diseases, especially after organ transplant. 

What is stem cell treatment?

Stem cell treatment or therapy can be used to treat much disorder in humans mainly related to blood. Although treatment of blood-related diseases is more popular, several degenerative diseases, spinal cord injury, stroke, burns, heart diseases, osteoarthritis are some other disorders that can be solved by Stem cells in theory. 

The power of stem cells to regenerate healthy cells has been first discovered in Canada by Dr James Till and Ernest McCulloch at the Harvard University. The treatment has gained popularity in recent years. The first bone marrow transplant in 1966 was performed by Edward Donnell Thomas to successfully treat leukaemia using stem cells from another person. 

Types of disease that can be treated by Stem cell therapy:

Leukaemia – Leukemia happens when a mutation in the White Blood Cell causes it to grow and divide continuously. The leukemic cells do not die like a healthy cell and continue to divide. This causes a crowing of unhealthy WBC in the blood causing healthy cells to stop growing. 

Treatment may include chemotherapy and radiation followed by stem cell treatment where healthy stem cells from a donor or the patient’s own body is transfused into his/her body. This good stem cell then produces healthy cells. 

Thalassemia – It is an inherited blood disorder where an abnormality in DNA causes a problem in the haemoglobin protein which is a carrier of oxygen in the blood. Due to this abnormality, the person becomes anaemic. Minor thalassemia is not as dangerous as the major. Doctor’s suggest a DNA for people who had thalassemia in their family to make sure their kids are not born with the same disorder. 

Thalassemia patient usually has to go through blood transfusion regularly, a permanent solution can be bone marrow transplant or stem cell therapy. The stem cell may either be taken from the bone marrow of a donor or from the umbilical cord of a newborn. More and more people are coming forward and offering the hospital the blood from the umbilical cord during delivery. The noble cause is always appreciated as the amount of stem cell is very less from a single offering.

Aplastic Anemia – Aplastic Anemia is caused due to an abnormality in the stem cell. The stem cell in the bone marrow gets replaced with fat cells causing deficiency of all kind of blood cell in the body. This may be congenital, inherited, the result of treatment such as chemotherapy or infection. It is more common in young kids and old people. Radiation or certain viruses can also cause Aplastic anaemia. Stem cell therapy such as bone marrow transplant is the only cure for Aplastic Anemia where bone marrow from a healthy donor is transfused into the patient, which then starts making new blood cells in the body.

MDS – Myelodysplastic Syndromes is somewhat like Aplastic anaemia discussed above but the stem cells in MDS causes only a few of the blood cell components to be defective or deficit. Bone marrow transplant is again the solution for MDS.

Sickle Cell Anaemia – Like thalassemia sickle cell anaemia also affects the red blood cell. In sickle cell anaemia, a gene mutation causes a wrongly formed haemoglobin protein. The causes the Red Blood Cell to look like a sickle which is unable to carry oxygen. The treatment involves Hydroxyurea, which stimulates the body to produce fetal haemoglobin which stops sickling. Another popular treatment is a bone marrow transplant. Almost, 85% patient get well with this method. 

Stem Cell Therapy from Umbilical Cord:

Blood in Umbilical cord contains Hematopoietic stem cells which can divide and develop into blood cells and immune cells. HSC transfusion from the umbilical cord is less likely to produce immune system incompatibilities. The only challenge in umbilical cord stem cell is that the amount of HSC extracted from one umbilical cord is quite less than it is in the bone marrow. 

Most doctors are now suggesting the donation of umbilical cord blood people who might need it. 

Be warned, many institutions offer to store your baby’s umbilical blood cryogenically. Such a thing is a waste of money as your baby needing the stem cell later in life is highly unlikely, moreover, stem cells of Umbilical cord do not need to match with the patient to be transfused.

Why you should choose India for stem cell therapy?

India is one of the hotspots when it comes to stem cell therapy. The first bone marrow transplant happened in India back in 1986 to treat a nine-year-old for leukaemia. The transplantation was a success and India has been performing the treatment in almost every major hospital. 

Affordability – A popular stem cell therapy, bone marrow transplantation costs $220,000 to $300,000 in the USA, the cost does not very much in UK and Canada, however, in India, the cost is around $35,000. The cost may vary according to hospital, the type of disease, severity of the disease, any complication, the number of days of stay. 

Indian foreign policies are not as stringent as the US medical policies. You can use your international insurance for medical payment if you have one or you could pay out of pocket. In the past decade, the number of people coming to India for medical tourism has been the highest in India. 

Medical Facility – India has some of the top level hospitals for stem cell therapy. The infrastructure, equipment and well-trained doctors make India one of the top places to come for stem cell therapy. 

What are some of the hospitals for stem cell therapy?

CMC Vellore, Tamil Nadu – Established in 1900 and NABH accredited. CMC Vellore is one of the best places for bone marrow transplant. It is a government aided hospital with the world’s most experienced doctors. Patients from all over India travel to Vellore for better treatment. The doctor’s practising in Vellore is said to be the most experienced doctors in Asia. In 1986, the hospital performed in the first bone marrow transplant.

Tata Medical Hospital, Mumbai – Tata Medical Hospital is one of the best cancer hospitals in India. It is also the first hospital in India to have performed a bone marrow transplant. The oncology department of the hospital is well-known for its affordable and great treatment. The hospital treats thousands of patients every year for blood cancer from children to the elderly. 

Apollo Hospital, Bangalore – Brand of Apollo hospital is a well known private hospital in India. It is also one of the hospitals that treat major blood cancers for patients across the world. The medical facility, the inpatient services are although costlier than government hospitals but are far cheaper than hospitals in developed countries. The overall experienced in Apollo is liked by foreign patients who come to India for treatment.

Here some other hospitals which are just as good:

Wockhardt Hospitals, Mumbai

Global Hospital, Mumbai

Fortis Hospital, Bangalore

Bone Marrow Transplant

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