Muscular Dystrophy – Success Story

Muscular Dystrophy Patient starts walking with Lesser Support

This case is of a 16 year old boy who visited NeuroGen facing muscle weakness complications and a history of similar illness in the family. His parents observed that even at the age of four, he would fall off frequently while walking. They slowly realized that the strength of his muscles was failing him. When he turned 11, he stopped walking altogether. Slowly his muscle weakness began to spread to his upper limbs. His muscles were stiff and too weak to control his movements. When he turned ten, his calf muscles were so stiff that they had to surgically lengthen it. Within a span of five years, his hamstrings had to be lengthened surgically.
When he visited us, he was all of 16. He had stopped walking ever since he was five and underwent two surgeries to lengthen the muscles. Although he could manage to do most of his daily activities on his own, he could not walk and used wheel chair to move around. When we studied his case, we found that the weakness of muscles was improved however the muscles of the lower limbs were weaker than the upper limb. Various tests like MRI showed increased fatty tissue within the muscles and EMG confirmed the muscular pathology. Blood enzyme levels, which is the marker of this disease called CreatinePhospho Kinase was 2630 units, much higher than normal and indicated muscle degeneration.

With this discovery, we carefully recognized muscles that were the weakest and designed the stem cell therapy accordingly. We first took the bone marrow to separate the stem cells. Once the cells were separated in the laboratory, they were then injected in the spinal fluid and the relevant weak muscles. The muscles we injected the stem cells were Deltoid, Triceps, Biceps, Brachioradialis, Rhomboids, Trapezius, Pectorals, Back Extensors, Abdominals, Glutei, Quadriceps and Adductors of hip.

He was put on a rest on day of transplantation of the stem cells. He had to undergo a rigorous exercise and rehabilitation program the next day. We made him realize the importance of this rehabilitation therapy. The rehabilitation consisted of exercises to strengthen the muscles, maintain the length of the weak muscles to prevent any tightness in future, prescription of orthosis to prevent such tightness and deformity.
He was trained to perform his daily activities in simple ways. He was also made to stand with the help of these assistive devices. Occupational therapists worked on getting the control of torso and upper limbs, regaining the hand function for various day to day activities.

Improvements seen in the patient post stem cell therapy

  • The pain in his calf muscles had reduced
  • The blood markers of muscle damage had reduced to 917 units

When he visited NeuroGen again after three months, he was walking with push up knee splints and bilateral support. He seems elated and happy as he was finally walking again after a long hiatus of 7 years. He could stand for longer time, do exercises easily and could lift up to ½ a Kg weight in his hands. His movements were a little faster. However, he still experienced difficulty in getting up from the bed. Six months after the stem cells, he could walk for more than an hour with the push up knee splints and only a single hand support. He could also stand longer and did not get tired as quickly. Although his hands functionally had not improved, his arm muscles were stronger than before. He was advised to continue with the exercises.He was very happy that he could walk with lesser support and sustain it for a longer time.

What the patient’s parents have to say?

“As parents we were constantly worried about his failing health and weakness since early childhood. The journey towards recovery was tough but the results were enriching. We have gone through a lot as a family. We are happy to say that one of our biggest worries like his inability to walk without taking support is no longer there. He can stand for longer time, do exercise easily and can lift up to ½ a Kg weight in his hands. His movements are a little faster too. We make sure that he still does his exercises without fail. We are hopeful that our son can lead a normal life like any other child.”