Almost three years after it conducted the worlds first stem cell surgery on a Parkinsons Disease patient,the Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre has not been able to conduct any such surgery owing to paucity of funds. The surgery was performed on a 54-year-old first and then on three more patients.
The first set of surgeries were funded by a private source. However,we havent been able to go ahead with any more owing to paucity of funds, says Dr Paresh Doshi,head of the Department of Stereotaxy and Neurosurgery at the hospital.
However,some neurosurgery experts claim the treatment was flawed to begin with. Though it is an attractive idea,there has not been enough research done to state that stem cell transplantation for the brain is safe and effective, says Dr Mohit Bhatt,neurosurgeon at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. Following the four surgeries,the neurosurgeons team at Jaslok had said that they would publish a paper in 2012 with details of patient follow-up.
The procedure has not been performed anywhere else,including the US. It is not because of lack of equipment or trained doctors,but because it has not been medically established. Why hasnt Jaslok published a paper detailing the followup of patients? another senior city neurosurgeon says.
Doshi,however,says they might not be able to publish a paper on the four patients condition though there had been an intensive followup. We have not been able to opine on the efficacy of the treatment but there has been a constant followup. Stem cell therapy is perfectly safe,but more research needs to be done.
The stem cell surgery for Parkinsons Disease was performed by using stem cells taken from the patients bone marrow,which were grown,processed in a lab and then brought back to Jaslok for transplantation by a stereostatic surgery.