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Stem cell therapy used to treat neurological conditions


A five-year-old boy from India called Ayaan Shafi, who was born with cerebral palsy and autistic features, has shown considerable improvement following stem cell therapy. Prior to the stem cell treatment, which was performed in 2013, Ayaan was unable to walk, talk or recognise people close to him.

Dr Alok Sharma, president of Stem Cell Society of India and director of Neurogen Brain and Spine Institute, Mumbai, performed the ground-breaking procedure, called “autologous bone marrow stem cells therapy.”

Ayaan is now able to walk with support, speak and recognise family members. He is also able to understand three languages. Samrin Shafi, Ayaan’s mother, said: “Now, after two years, there has been notable improvement in his speech, posture and recognition. In my experience, the therapy is very effective.”

Dr Sharma explained that the procedure is simple and safe. The treatment involves stem cells being removed from the patient’s bone marrow using a needle. The stem cells are then processed outside and injected back in the spinal fluid. If possible, it is best for stem cells to be removed from naturally shed teeth, as this will mean the procedure is pain-free and non-invasive. Stem cells that are taken from baby teeth will also avoid being subject to deterioration due to age or pollutants.

Dr Sharma explained: “Since the cells are taken from the patient’s own body, there is no rejection and no side effects which makes it a safe procedure.” Stem cells being removed from the patient is the ideal scenario as this negates a lifetime of anti-rejection medication. Dr Sharma also stated that the treatment appears to be most effective in patients under ten.

The results from this treatment have now provided hope for other people who have spine and brain disorders.