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Muscular Dystrophy

Stem cell therapy for muscular dystrophy treatment in India for significant improvements

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an uncommon muscle disorder, yet it ranks among the most prevalent genetic conditions, impacting roughly 1 in every 3,500 male births across the globe.

The symptoms of this rare condition are evident when the child is between three and six years of age. 

DMD is the most common type of muscular dystrophy diagnosed in children. Muscular dystrophy is a group of genetic disorders characterized by the progressive weakening and degeneration of muscle tissue.

In recent years, advancements in medical research and technology have provided new possibilities for treating muscular dystrophy in India. Experimental treatments such as gene therapy and stem cell therapy are being explored, aiming to address the underlying genetic causes of the condition. 

Additionally, healthcare professionals in India work closely with patients to create individualized care plans that may include medications, orthopedic interventions, and lifestyle adjustments to improve the quality of life and slow down the progression of the disease.

Want to know how stem cell therapy can help you treat muscular dystrophy?

Let’s start with a success story.

In December 2017, the MedicoExperts team was in Ethiopia and was conducting an OPD and Surgical camp. Robert, who was suffering from muscular dystrophy, approached us and told us about his health conditions. He was in his 40’s and he was a businessman.

He was planning to expand his business but he was worried about his deteriorating muscle strength. He reached the point where he could not hold a pen in his hand.

He was worried that due to his disability, he would; soon become a liability to his family. 

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One of the renowned neurosurgeons traveling with us for the camp consulted Robert and informed him that nothing substantial could be done. 

Robert came to the camp with tons of hope but was returning with shaken confidence and utter helplessness. While describing his experience of consultation, he had fewer words and more tears. He was helpless and desperately wanted a solution from our team.

This Pushed MedicoExperts to look for alternative treatments and therapies for Muscular dystrophy. Our research suggested that Stem cell therapy can be effective in treating muscular dystrophy. While our team busied themselves on researching stem cell therapy,  we were not sure about the outcomes as patients received mixed results after undergoing stem cell therapy. 

Our challenge was to find out whether stem cell therapy really works on muscular dystrophy. We decided to have a thorough deep dive into the subject and consulted researchers and practitioners of stem cell therapy in five countries.

We also reached out to patients who have undergone this therapy for the condition. We again found mixed responses. We correlated the practitioner’s perspective and approach with the patient’s expectations and results and started guiding Robert for the treatment.  

Today, Robert is back in action and fulfilled his dream of expanding his business. He is happily living with his family full of confidence and dreams for himself and his family. His physical movements are unhindered and he walks with the confidence that he was dreaming of. 

The best part is he doesn’t need to consult the doctor now and then and is required to repeat the therapy in 7 to 10 years. 

Before we move further, let’s first understand what muscular dystrophy is.

What is Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular dystrophy (MD) is a neuromuscular disorder that constantly damages healthy muscles making them weak and wasted. A disease is a form of congenital abnormality due to the wrong expression of faulty genes.

Muscles and membranes need many different proteins to be strong and function properly and these proteins are supplied to our body from the food we eat but some of them are synthesized by our own body such as Dystrophin.

This information regarding the production as well as the amount of protein is being passed on, by our own genetic makeup. Due to gene mutation, wrong information is passed from one generation to another generation due to which these important proteins are not produced or produced in very low quantities.

Without these proteins, muscles lose their structural and functional integrity slowly which may affect the overall normal functioning of the body.

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Types of Muscular Dystrophy

Depending upon the impaired gene, the site where the gene is located, and the progression of symptoms muscular dystrophies are divided into various types. Major forms of Muscular Dystrophy:

  • Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: This is the most common form of muscular dystrophy which affects boys. The symptoms are usually observed during 2-3 years of age. The child becomes wheelchair-bound at the age of 12 years and dies of respiratory failure by his early 20s. This involves the weakness of major involuntary muscles such as the heart, lungs, etc.
  • Emery Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy: This is a very rare form of MD, typically observed in late childhood to early teens. Symptoms are the same such as wasting of muscles, weakness, and joint deformities with slow progression. In severe cases, sudden death may occur due to cardiac arrest.
  • Limb-girdle Muscular Dystrophy: This is a type of muscular dystrophy, that affects both boys and girls, usually occurring in late childhood to middle age. The symptoms include muscle atrophy in the shoulders, upper arms, around the thighs, and the hips
  • Myotonic Muscular Dystrophy: This is a type of Muscular Dystrophy, in which muscle relaxation can cause a problem occurring especially in teens. Some other problems such as muscle weakness, wasting, cataracts, and heart problems are commonly observed.
  • Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy: This type of Muscular Dystrophy occurs in both men and women but is predominant in men. The symptoms may include sleeping with their eyes slightly open, an inability to squeeze their eyes tightly, and an inability to bring their lips together.

Types of Muscular Dystrophy Treated by Stem Cells

Becker Muscular Dystrophy

Becker Muscular Dystrophy is a genetic disease in which there is progressive damage to muscles in the body.

Congenital Muscular Dystrophy

CMD is a type of muscular dystrophy that is noticeable either at or soon after birth. Muscular dystrophies are genetic conditions that mainly affect voluntary muscles and cause them to degenerate over time.

Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

Duchenne Muscular dystrophy is a serious muscular disorder in kids caused due to mutation in the dystrophin-producing gene.

Emery-Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy

The condition known as Emery-Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy (EDMD) is a genetic disorder that mainly impacts the muscles that are controlled voluntarily.

Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy

The condition gets its long name from facies, scapula, and humerus – which are Latin words for face, shoulder blade, and upper arm.

Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy

Limb-Girdle Muscular Dystrophy (LGMD) is a group of inherited conditions that weaken the muscles in the hips, upper arms, pelvic area, thighs, and shoulders. It is caused by mutations in the genes and can vary greatly in severity.

Myotonic Dystrophy Treatment

Myotonic dystrophy is a progressive disease with symptoms of muscle weakness and wasting along with prolonged muscle contractions.

Oculopharyngeal Muscular Dystrophy

Oculopharyngeal dystrophy is a rare inherited disease with adult onset generally after the age of 40. It is a progressive disease, but the symptoms worsen very slowly.

Distal Muscular Dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy is a condition that results in the gradual weakening and reduction of muscle mass due to abnormal genes (mutations) that disrupt the production of necessary muscle-building proteins.

What causes Muscular Dystrophy

Due to genetic defects, the proteins that are formed by the genes are either absent or less functional. The group of proteins that are affected in different muscular dystrophies is called Dystrophin Sarcoglycan Complex (DGC). DGC is important to maintain the structure of the cell wall of the muscle cell called Myocyte.

Muscle degeneration occurs due to the bad structure of the cell wall of the myocyte (muscle cell) even with day-to-day muscle activity.

This uncontrolled degeneration leads to rapid muscle death and weakness which ultimately leads to muscular dystrophy. Uncontrolled muscle death is the primary cause of muscle weakness. Due to continuous muscle degeneration, there is a chronic inflammation that damages muscles even more.

Along with the muscles of the body, the muscles of cell walls are also affected which affects the blood supply to the muscles causing more damage. As DCG is also present in various non-muscular tissues like nerves, kidneys, spleen, and Schwann cells muscular dystrophies may also show some neurological symptoms.

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What are the symptoms of muscular dystrophy?

Muscular Dystrophy cannot be diagnosed early in its progression since some people have the normal pattern of development during the first few years of their life.

Slowly and gradually they start facing problems such as climbing stairs, walking on their toes, getting up from the sitting position, etc.

Mostly a child with MD often develops enlarged calf muscles due to fat replacements.

Some of the important muscular dystrophy symptoms are:

  • Fatigue & muscle weakness.
  • Mental retardation (possible but does not worsen over time).
  • Difficulty with motor skills (running, hopping, jumping).
  • Difficulty in walking.

Reasons for muscular dystrophy

Muscular dystrophy is essentially caused by genetic mutations. These mutations interfere with the production of muscle proteins which are needed to build and maintain healthy muscles. 

Hence, the causes are more genetic rather than anything else. If you are having a family history of muscular dystrophy, it will increase your chances of getting affected by it.

Conventional Treatments for Muscular Dystrophy

Before the use and development of stem cell therapy, the conventional treatment approaches for muscular dystrophy were aimed at providing mobility and aid in strengthening the muscles of the heart and lungs.

The previously available treatment options included physical therapy, occupational therapy, medication, and surgery. Depending on the extent of difficulty faced by the patient, treatment plans are made to help manage the trouble in swallowing, breathing, walking, and hand movements and also to slow the deterioration of muscle tissues.


The doctor may prescribe certain medications to help with the condition.

Through medication, the doctor aims to delay the progression of the condition and also strengthen the muscles.

In cases where there is probable heart damage, heart medication is also recommended.


Low-impact workouts like stretching, walking, etc. will help maintain muscle movement and improve overall health.

Under the careful supervision and guidance of a doctor, the patient can also do some exercises to retain the range of motion of the muscles which otherwise is affected by muscular dystrophy.

These exercises will help in keeping the muscles and joints flexible.

Therapies to Improve Muscular Dystrophy

Several types of therapy and assistive devices can improve the quality and sometimes the length of life of people who have muscular dystrophy. Braces and mobility aids will help provide support to the weak muscles and also provide self-dependency.

The braces will also help in keeping the muscles and tendons flexible and stretched, thereby reducing contracture progression.


Surgery may be required to correct the spinal curvature or contractures which could lead to trouble in breathing.

In cases where the heart function may be affected, surgery to implant a pacemaker or other cardiac devices is done.

Advanced Treatment Options for Muscular Dystrophy in India

Stem cell therapy for muscular dystrophy in India

Recent research has proven that stem cells have the potential to regenerate and repair damaged muscle cells. Stem cell therapy is one of the effective treatments for MD as it provides cells that can both deliver functional muscle proteins and replenish the stem pool.

Transplanted cells have myogenic potential i.e. the cells can divide into a mature myocyte and then can repair and regenerate muscle fibers. Pre-clinical evidence ensures that stem cell therapy can restore dystrophin protein which leads to the formation of muscle fibers that are resistant to easy damage and degeneration.

Stem cells are known to have a tangible approach to the treatment of MD. These cells by their natural property can regenerate affected muscles by inducing myogenesis and provide a decent symptomatic relief.

As the expected deterioration of patients’ MD is about 20% every year, an improvement in the percentage of deterioration after Stem Cell therapy is proven and observed by most doctors. Stem cell therapy can halt the growth of the disease which can prevent further complications of the disorder.

To know more about stem cell therapy.

HBOT therapy for muscular dystrophy treatment in India

HBOT mobilizes human bone marrow stem cells that can assist in muscle cell regeneration. Based on these results, it is recommended that HBOT in patients with MD improves symptoms and facilitates the functions of stem cells.

Ozone therapy for muscular dystrophy treatment in India

It is used as an alternative therapy to improve the intake and oxygen use of the body and to activate the immune system. Ozone therapy is one of the most potent ways to flood your body with additional oxygen drastically and quickly.

Not only does ozone itself have incredible healing capabilities but this fact has also been well-documented for centuries. Combined with stem cell therapy, ozone therapy yields successful outcomes.

combination therapies for muscular dystrophy in India

Stem cell researchers and practitioners can enhance the results by clubbing stem cell therapy with HBOT and Ozone therapy. The right combination can only be determined after a thorough examination of the patient.

Moreover, Stem cell therapy together with advanced hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) technology has turned into the highest possible blend of beneficial muscular dystrophy treatment.

Procedure for stem cell therapy for Muscular dystrophy in India

Stem cell therapy muscular dystrophy treatment in India is a simple and completely safe procedure that requires only injections and no surgery is involved.

In the Stem cell procedure, Adult stem cells are taken from the bone marrow of the patient and injected back into the patient after processing in a specialized stem cell laboratory.

The procedure involves 3 steps.

Step 1: Bone Marrow Aspiration:

In this process, a needle is inserted into the hip bone to extract the bone marrow. This is done under local anesthesia so that the patient does not experience pain. 

Step 2: Stem Cell Separation:

The bone marrow which is taken in step 1 from the patient is sent to the Stem cell laboratory, where the stem cells are separated from the remaining cells of the bone marrow by the density gradient method.

Step 3: Stem Cell Injection:

A lumbar puncture is done using a very thin needle through the L4-L5 space of the spine, after giving local anesthetic and the stem cells are injected into the cerebrospinal fluid.

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Prerequisites for Muscular dystrophy treatment in India

The minimum age for muscular dystrophy treatment in India is 2 years, and a minimum hemoglobin level of 10 grams is required as a prerequisite.

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What are the expected outcomes of stem cell therapy for Muscular dystrophy in India?

It has been found that 90% of individuals with Muscular dystrophy have shown clinical improvements and outcomes in the following areas:

  • Increased trunk muscle strength
  • Limb strength on manual muscle testing and balance
  • Improvements in ambulation
  • Improved hand function
  • Increase in stamina
  • Better trunk balance

Cost of Muscular Dystrophy Treatment in India

India is one of the most cost-effective and result-oriented destinations to choose to undergo stem cell therapy. With the availability of state-of-the-art hospitals, the best stem cell experts, and excellent infrastructure which is at par with international standards, you also get affordability and trustworthiness. The stem cell therapy for muscular dystrophy treatment in India is based on the patient’s requirements and medical condition.

The cost of stem cell therapy for muscular dystrophy treatment in India starts from USD 2000 (1,66,317 INR) per cycle, depending on the patient’s current condition, treating doctor, and suggested treatment protocol.

A stay of 12-15 days in the country is required for the entire treatment, and in some cases, the stay may be extended to 45 days as well.

Depending on the protocol of the chosen specialist stem cell therapy will be clubbed with the latest and advanced therapies like ozone therapy HBOT, stimulations, and many more for better results.

The cost of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) ranges between 50 – 90 USD per session. Each session lasts for about 60-90 minutes for 25-30 days, every day.

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Successful Treatment of Muscular Dystrophy in India

Successful stem cell treatment for muscular dystrophy aims to restore and slow down muscle wasting which occurs in muscular dystrophy. Our research and years of successful treatment of muscular dystrophy in India have resulted in patients showing significant improvement.

Over 90% of patients with muscular dystrophy have shown improvement in muscle strength, mobility, hand function, increase in stamina, body balance, and limb strength.

Our patients have exhibited notable improvements in multiple ways that demonstrate the advantages of cell therapy in India for muscular dystrophy.

The strength and tone of the muscles improve after stem cell therapy as a result of new muscle fibers which consequently help reduce symptoms and improve the condition.

Frequently Asked Questions and patient concerns:

1. What is Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular dystrophy (MD) is an umbrella term for more than 30 genetic diseases that cause progressive weakness and degeneration of the muscles used in the movement.

2. When does a doctor suspect Duchenne Dystrophy (DMD)?

DMD is suspected when children present with walking difficulties usually around the age of 2 or 3 years.

3. Is Muscular Dystrophy always inherited?

Although most muscular dystrophy is genetic, about one-third of the families of DMD patients have no prior history of the disease. This is because DMD may occur as a result of a spontaneous genetic mutation.

4. Is Muscular Dystrophy only development in infancy?

Babies, teens, or adults can face muscular problems at any phase of their development as this is caused due to muscular weakness. About 1 in every 3,500 boys worldwide is born with the most common form of the disease, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD)

5. Do all forms of Muscular Dystrophy begin in childhood?

Some forms of Muscular Dystrophy appear in infancy or childhood, while others may not appear until middle age or later. Each of the dystrophies causes progressive skeletal muscle deterioration and weakness, but the severity and life expectancy vary.

6. Why does Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) affect mostly boys?

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is caused by a mutation on the X or male sex chromosome, so it mostly affects boys. However, girls and women who carry the defective gene may show some milder symptoms.

7. Can Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) be prevented?

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a genetic disorder. There are no tests to detect DMD in a child before birth. However, genetic counseling helps in the identification of at-risk families.

8. What is the efficacy and longevity of the stem cell treatment for Muscular Dystrophy?

Muscular Dystrophy is a neuromuscular disorder that constantly damages healthy muscles making them weak and wasted. The stem cell therapy and subsequent physiotherapy will be able to provide strength to the muscle and you would soon start living a normal life within a few months.

However, due to the nature of the disease, there is a high probability that you will start losing muscle strength once again after a few years of treatment. This recurrence may happen from 5 to 10 years. In such a case you may need to repeat the therapy.

9. What is becker muscular dystrophy?

Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) is a form of muscular dystrophy that is inherited in an X-linked recessive pattern.

It is caused by a mutation in the gene that codes for the dystrophin protein, which is essential for muscle function.

BMD is considered a milder form of muscular dystrophy compared to Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), which is caused by a similar genetic mutation but results in more severe muscle weakness and degeneration.

Symptoms of BMD typically appear later in life than those of DMD, and can include muscle weakness, muscle cramps and pain, and difficulty with fine motor skills such as buttoning clothes or tying shoelaces.

Some individuals with BMD may also experience cardiomyopathy, a condition that affects the heart muscle.

The progression of BMD can vary greatly between individuals, with some experiencing only mild muscle weakness and others experiencing severe disability.

10. What is the current status of Stem cell therapy from the regulatory framework?

The stem cell-based therapy is in the research phase and not yet formally approved by ICMR. However, the application of stem cells, popularly known as bone marrow transplants, in blood-related disorders is approved by ICMR.

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