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Doctors in TN develop new non-surgical stem cell therapy to treat OSMF

Monday, September 08, 2008 08:00 IST
Peethambaran Kunnathoor, Chennai

A team of doctors headed by Dr. S. Sankara Narayanan, at the Stem Cell Therapy Unit of Kaveri Medical Centre Hospital, Trichy, in Tami Nadu has reportedly developed a non-surgical form of treatment using Autologous Bone Marrow Stem Cells-Stem Cell Therapy- to treat the Oral Sub Mucous Fibrosis (OSMF) and to change the malignant potential. The doctor along with his associates claimed they have successfully treated three patients with OSMF by using this medical technology.

Dr. Sankara Narayanan, the Director of the Unit and also the Head of Department of Oral Pathology at Karpagavinayaka Dental College, Trichy, has presented papers on his new therapeutic approach of stem cells at the sixth international stem cell conference held in Philadelphia, US recently.

The doctor, who is attempting to make a history with his new approach, said Stem Cell Therapy offers viable therapeutic options for debilitating diseases and injury, and claimed that this type of stem cell treatment for an oral disease is the first of its kind in the stem cell field. According to him the new form of treatment offers hope and confidence for curing the oral disease.

At first three patients who were unable to open their mouth more than an inch were treated by injecting autologous bone marrow stem cells and the results were found encouraging. The aspirated bone marrow blood is processed at NCRM (Nichi-in -Center for Regenerative Medicines) Chennai and was injected back to the patient's mouth in to the lesion. The doctor said the application was successful and no side effects or adverse effects were found. In these cases the symptoms like burning sensation, mouth opening and salivation have improved significantly and histopathologically proved that the abnormal cells had been brought to normal appearance, Dr. Sankara Narayanan told Pharmabiz.

OSF is a chronic, debilitating disease of the oral cavity characterized by inflammation and progressive fibrosis of the sub mucosal tissues. It results in marked rigidity and an eventual inability to open the mouth. It is a progressive disease and a pre-cancerous condition affecting the oral cavity. It is predominantly caused by use of areca nut and tobacco in various forms. If it is not properly diagnosed and treated in time, the risk of cancer transformation is very high. There is a wide range of treatments like medical and surgical, attempted many times, but none of them had proved effective for many patients, he said.

"The condition of OSMF is well recognized for its malignant potential and is particularly associated with aerca nut chewing, the main component of betel quid. Betel quid chewing is a habit practised predominately in Southeast Asia and India that dates back for thousands of years. It is similar to tobacco chewing in westernized societies. The mixture of this quid, or chew, is a combination of the areca nut and betel leaf, tobacco, slaked lime and catechu. Arecoline, an alkaloid found in the areca nut, promotes salivation, stains saliva red, and is a stimulant", he explained.

The disease has a high rate of morbidity because it causes a progressive inability to open the mouth, resulting in difficulty for eating and consequent nutritional deficiencies. OSF also has a significant mortality rate because it can transform into oral cancer, particularly squamous cell carcinoma, at a rate of 7.6 percent, his study revealed.

Dr. Sankara Narayanan said his team has planned to apply this medical technology in more number of patients with the same disease, associating with the existing surgical options to improve the results. His team of doctors includes Dr Samuel Abraham of NCRM, Japan, Dr R Annamalai, Chairman of Karpagavinayaka Dental College and Dr Srinivasan, Professor at the KDC.
- Courtesy Pharma Bizz, 08 September 2008 issue.
*"Nichi" stands for Japan and "In" stands for India. This institute started on an Indo-Japan collaboration now has spreaded further with global alliances
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