For nearly three years, Sundar (26) was waiting to be told that he could to regain control of his bladder and move around. Sundar, who fell off a tree, injured his spine and was paralyzed below the navel. In 2011, when doctors at Laksha Hospital in Chennai told him there was hope in the stem cell therapy trials, he signed the consent form.
Mumbai-based Dr B S Rajput, consultant orthopaedic and stem cell transplant surgeon at Breach Candy Hospital, told him he would inject stem cells drawn from his own body into him to repair the shredded network of nerves crisscrossing the spinal cord. At a press conference on Monday, Sundar, a farmer, walked with support, and smiled at flashing media cameras. “I tried everything before agreeing for stem cell therapy. I was told there is no hope of walking again and I was bed ridden. I chose stem cell therapy as I had no other option. Now, I have complete bladder and bowel control,” he said, shaking hands with Dr Rajput.
In 2008, Sundar suffered a serious spine injury after a fall from a tree. After initial treatment, doctors told him he had suffered post-traumatic paraplegia and that he would have to remain on bed. Sundar then met Laksha Hospital managing director Dr Senthil Kumar who told him about Dr Rajput and his experience in stem cell therapy. After the informed consent form was signed, Sundar was brought for trial on April 26, 2011.
Dr Senthil Kumar and Dr Rajput hope Sundar’s condition would further improve over time. They did a similar transplant on a 4-year-old boy with cerebral palsy. “It’s a trial, but these tiny cells are helping us build big hopes,” said Dr Senthil Kumar.