PUNE MIRROR ON MARCH 15TH Stemming the bone replacement tide

New stem cell therapy offers alternative to complicated bone surgery, even as degeneration cases increase among youth due to alcohol and steroid abuse

Neha Taneja

Posted On Friday, March 15, 2013 at 09:02:17 AM

The bad news is that the disturbing side effects of excessive alcohol consumption among youth, as well as the trend of opting for long-term steroid treatments, has led to an increase in cases of bone degeneration within youth aged between 20 and 35, say doctors.

Graphic: Manoj Shinde
To the bone of the matter

1 First, the bone marrow is extracted from the hipbone’s iliac crest
2 Next, osteoblasts are isolated from this extract
3 These osteoblasts are cultured and expanded in the laboratory and mixed with a special medium, forming autologous bone implant
4 The autologous bone implant is injected at the site, wherever it is necessary to promote bone growth and healing

The good news, however, is that with recent progress in the medical industry, victims can now opt for stem cell therapy instead of total bone replacement — the latter most often includes complicated surgical techniques and several post-operative problems like infections and recurrence.

The new age therapy by Regenerative Medical Services (RMS) called Autologous Bone Implantation (ABI) consists of harvesting osteoblasts (bone formation cells), culturing them in a laboratory and implanting these where new bone formation is needed. The technique has already worked wonders on three patients from the city.

Beating the condition

Twenty-three-year-old Sachin Ramesh Zende of Bibvewadi was diagnosed with Fibrous Dysplasia, a bone disease that destroys and replaces normal bone with fibrous bone tissue. It usually occurs between the ages of 3 and 25. While it is not hereditary, the cause is unknown.

Zende said, “I had this disease since 2004 and had even undergone a surgery at Sancheti Hospital in 2005. The problem recurred in 2012. All the doctors I met were advising surgery. Finally, Dr Ranka gave me this alternative, for which I underwent treatment in January.”

Orthopaedic surgeon at Ranka Hospital, Dr Ramesh Ranka said, “The patient had a large cavity in his femur and was unwilling to get a bone transplant at such a young age. We decided to aspirate his bone marrow and send it to the lab.

Six weeks later, patients were subjected to surgery, with ‘allograft’ obtained from the bone bank of Tata Hospital in Mumbai. An opening was created in the femur and layers of allograft and osseron were packed into the cavity. There have been similar surgeries in India, but it was the first for me, and successful.”