Man with muscular dystrophy moves HC for stem cell therapy

Man with muscular dystrophy moves HC for stem cell therapyMan with muscular dystrophy moves HC for stem cell therapy
Highlights

The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Centre whether AIIMS can provide a ‘stem cell’ therapy to a man suffering from muscular dystrophy and needs treatment which can now be provided only by companies or clinics after getting a licence from the government.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday asked the Centre whether AIIMS can provide a 'stem cell' therapy to a man suffering from muscular dystrophy and needs treatment which can now be provided only by companies or clinics after getting a licence from the government.

After the central government added stem cells and related products to the list of 'new drugs', any company or a clinic needs permission of a central licensing authority to provide such treatment.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru, before whom the matter came up for hearing, said there was no doubt that 'stem cells' were a drug and needed to be regulated.

However, the court asked the Centre whether the petitioner, Aditya Bhatia, can be provided the requisite treatment by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here. It asked government's lawyers to take instruction on the aspect and listed the matter for hearing on April 15.

Bhatia, in his plea, has claimed that he needs the treatment daily which, coupled with physiotherapy, prevents his muscles from wasting away. He suffers from a rare genetic disorder, facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy, which degenerates muscles.

His lawyers told the court that if he has to wait for a licence to be granted to the clinic, which is providing him the treatment, he might die. The lawyers said the clinic has discontinued the experimental treatment till it gets a licence. He has sought protection till the time the clinic applies and gets licence to provide the treatment.

The central government defended its decision to put stem cells in the list of new drugs, notified last month, saying its use was unregulated and complaints were being received regarding its side effects. The government said several complaints were received that patients developed tumours on account of undergoing embryonic stem cell treatment.

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