Neuro-vegetative status: Is progress possible with stem cell treatments?
Persistent neuro-vegetative state (PNS), with duration of at least 4 months is a difficult to treat condition and has very few therapeutic options. Stem cells offer a promising new therapeutic venue and we have administered via intrathecal injection (lumbar puncture) autologous and allogeneic stem cells to 4 patients so far (6, 12, 22 and 24 months duration of PNS) with a total of 12 such treatments. Two patients had 1 treatment each, and the other had 4 and 6 treatments respectively; of these 7 were autologous, with cells harvested from own adipose tissue, and 5 were allogeneic, from closely related donors. One patient received a combination of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells and umbilical cord blood stem cells and this combination yielded better results than both autologous and allogeneic which were previously used in this patient. The cells used were CD271+, CD34+ and CD90+ (positive selection with antibodies and flow cytometry assay). There were various, mild improvements in the level of consciousness, interaction, motor abilities and spasticity, and this was improved when hyperbaric oxygen followed the stem cell treatment. This is an on-going project for which we continue treating respective patients.