Cerebral palsy is a debilitating condition that affects the areas of the brain controlling muscle function and body movement. New cases are diagnosed in nearly 10,000 children each year, and around half a million people live with the condition in the United States.
At present, there is no known cure for cerebral palsy. For years, however, researchers have studied the possible benefits of stem cell treatment in restoring motor function in children with CP.
Stem Cell Benefits
Through a process known as paracrine signaling, stem cells communicate with nearby cells to alter their behavior.
In 2014, news out of Singapore detailed the case of Jiang Yuecheng, a 3-year-old boy treated by doctors with injections of his own umbilical cord blood, who made significant strides in coordination, communication and immune system health after just two treatments.
Now, in what is believed to be the first major study into cerebral palsy stem cell treatment in the United States, doctors have taken major steps in quantifying both the benefits and effective dosages.
Duke University Cerebral Palsy Stem Cell Study
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center, led by doctor Jessica Sun, conducted a phase II study of 63 children between the ages of 1 and 6 with cerebral palsy, to measure the effectiveness of autologous cord blood infusions.
Autologous treatments use a patient’s own tissue, cells or organs for transplant back into their body. The umbilical cord, which can be saved at birth, has several million stem cells. Other slightly more invasive methods are also available to harvest cells when the cord is no longer available.
In this study, children were injected with either a placebo or autologous cord blood infusion at the start of the test. Treatment was then alternated after 1 year. Motor function and brain connectivity were then measured via the Gross Motor Function Measure and MRIs at the time of treatment, after 1 year, and after year 2.
Although the initial results showed little difference, further analysis showed that one year after cord blood injections, those who received higher doses experienced significant increases in normal brain connectivity, Gross Motor Function scores and the Peabody Developmental Motor Scales-2 scores.
Researchers concluded that proper doses of cord blood injections could improve brain connectivity and gross motor function in young children with cerebral palsy.
Options for Those Affected
While these results are promising, more studies are necessary, and this treatment could miss many of the 500,000 children in the United States currently living with cerebral palsy.
Parents should ask their child’s physicians for any information on current cord blood treatment options, as well as new upcoming studies.
It is also important to identify the cause of your child’s cerebral palsy, as a large number of these cases are caused by medical mistakes that could have been avoided. In these situations, valuable compensation may be available to help with future treatment.
Lawyers have already helped thousands of children with cerebral palsy file lawsuits to recover damages, with verdicts ranging well into the millions. If your child has been diagnosed with CP, it is important to have a lawyer review their case to determine the cause and whether you are entitled to compensation.
Contact DrugNews today for more information or to speak with a Cerebral Palsy Lawyer.
Sun, J. et al. Effect of Autologous Cord Blood Infusion on Motor Function and Brain Connectivity in Young Children with Cerebral Palsy: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Stem Cells Translational Medicine. (December 6, 2017). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=%22Stem+Cells+Transl+Med%22[jour]
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