Stem Cell treatment comes in many types. Its been around now for several years. When our daughter was born 11 years ago, we were just starting to hear about it. In these last 11 years, clinics in places like China, Mexico, etc. have been offering stem cell treatments. To our knowledge, no miracle cures have happened yet. In fact, injecting anything into a child is dangerous business and some serious complications and even deaths have been reported. China’s federal government has announced an official hold on stem cell treatments for cerebral palsy for fear of losing control over the many small clinics that have started to offer the treatment, however, my understanding is that the the network of Army hospitals operate independently and have continued to offer treatment. Again, from what we have seen, there have been no miracle cures.
This brings us to the USA and two clinical trails being done on Cord Blood. Here is a video that is quite interesting.
The Medical College of Georgia and Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg at Duke University have begun FDA approved clinical trails using IV infusions of stem cells from a child’s own umbilical cord (autologous).
The Duke study is funded with a $10.2 million donation from the Robertson Foundation.
The mechanism that is at work is unclear, however Dr. Kurtzberg hypothesizes that cord blood cells can reduce inflammation in the brain, produce hormones to repair brain cells or possibly transform themselves into healthy brain cells to replace the damaged ones.
James Carroll, the head researcher for the clinical trials at MCG, has had success with treating oxygen related brain damage in animal tests. Rats with induced CP-like conditions were shown to have improved motor skills after multipotent adult progenitor stem cells were introduced.
In MCG’s trial, children 2 to 12 years old will be given IV infusions (half will receive cord blood stem cells, half placebo) and then examined three months later. At that point, the placeboed half of the patients will receive cord blood stem cells. Examinations will continue three and six months later. The Duke study focuses on children 1 to 6 years old.
Outside of the trail, it is said Dr. Kurtzberg has already treated about 150 patients with positive results. BRIGHT hopes to contact Dr. Kurtzberg or any of the parents who’s children have received these treatments.
Cerebral Palsy which affects 2-3 children per thousand in the US. The Centers for Disease Control estimated in 2003 that the cost of caring for someone with CP over a lifetime is $921,000.