A controversial New Delhi clinic deploys advanced therapies that are unavailable in the U.S.
NEW DELHI, India — In December 2007, Californian Amy Scher got on a plane to India, wheeled herself into the Nu Tech Mediworld hospital in New Delhi, and started the first phase of an experimental embryonic stem-cell treatment.
Her American doctor had warned her against this untested procedure. But 27-year-old Scher was making no progress with conventional medicine, and she was fed up with the constant visits to hospital emergency rooms.
Scher suffered from chronic Lyme disease, which had gone undiagnosed initially, causing serious damage her nervous system. After researching her options for months, talking to several people who had benefitted from these treatments in India, and reading up about therapies available stateside, Scher decided the American medical system couldn’t help her. She chose to travel to India.
For eight weeks, she was injected with stem cells and underwent extensive physical therapy. The treatments cost an average of $20,000 to $30,000 for a first round of injections. They were not covered by insurance.
Today, Scher’s U.S. physician, Dr. Steven Harris considers her “asymptomatic.” He is uncertain whether the disease has been eradicated, or if it’s just dormant, but he says the treatments appear to have helped.
From India, Scher brought back a SPECT scan, which measures blood flow in the brain. Before India, Harris says, the blood flow in her brain was impaired. “At the end of her stay, a repeat scan showed normalization of her blood flow — in effect, an improvement in brain function.” Scher no longer takes nerve stabilizers or cardiac medication. The chronic pain, a constant companion since 2001, is gone.