Stem cell treatment for constipation in kids: Study
TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Chennai: Parents who suffer in silence seeing their children battle congenital constipation problems can breathe easy. Doctors at the Institute of Child Health (ICH) along with researchers at Japan’s Nichi-In Centre for Regenerative Medicine have conducted a study that proves stem cells can be a potential future treatment of Hirschsprung’s disease, a gastric disorder in which the large intestine lacks the nerves which facilitate free movement of stools, leading to constipation.
Prof S V Senthilnathan, HoD of paediatric surgery at ICH said the affected part of the colon lacks nerves that regulate the activity of the large intestine. So the large intestine cannot relax and pass stool, creating an obstruction.
“One in 5,000 kids in the world is affected by this disorder. In ICH we see 80-120 such cases in a year and conventionally, infants undergo a ‘pull through’ surgery, a major procedure involving single or multiple stages, to treat it,” he said. But, cell-based therapy is a potential solution, he added.
Earlier, cell-based therapies showed that neural precursor cells from post natal human gut tissues can be isolated and multiplied in a lab and transplanted into the affected portion of the patient to restore the colon’s function. For the current study, doctors managed to isolate and culture the cells from gut samples of patients who had undergone surgeries for the disease. “A novel thermo-reversible gelation polymer scaffold is used. This polymer is synthetic, so the rejection rate is negligible, unlike conventional scaffold material. Using this we expand the cells in a lab and transplant them along with the scaffold for optimal regeneration,” said Dr J Krishnamohan, professor of paediatric surgery, Kasturba Gandhi Hospital.
Since cell-based therapies have proved these cells would colonise and give rise to neurons and ganglia that can restore the function of the colon, this method can help treat the disease effectively, he added. Dean Dr V Kanagasabai said that soon ICH would purchase high-end equipment needed to culture stem cells, making it a nodal centre for treatment of the disorder.