January 05, 2015

Cerebral Palsy is a non-progressive brain disorder that is widely thought to be most commonly caused by an extended lack of oxygen, during the birth process. Cases, which occur in 2 of every 1,000 births, fluctuate in severity and can leave children mentally and physically disabled. The current treatment for this type of birth-related brain damage is simply to treat the symptoms, which can range from mild, such as speech or balance difficulties, to severe physical or mental limitations that affect day-to-day life.

Healthcare professionals would like to improve those treatments and give those with Cerebral Palsy more opportunities when it comes to fighting the disorder. To do this, researchers are looking to stem cell therapy as a potential option in trying to reverse some of the effects of this birth-related brain damage. The stem cells are derived from umbilical cord blood, either from the child or a sibling.

In a study published this year1, researchers studied mice with acute hypoxic (lack of oxygen) injury, administering stem cells through three possible routes: intrathecal (lumbar injection), intravenous and intracerebral (injection in the subventricular zone). The stem cells, which have the ability to divide, differentiate and multiply, migrated to the damaged areas of the brain and stimulated growth, which reduced the effects of the brain damage. Cord blood stem cells, when transplanted in patients with brain disorders, help to improve neurological and motor deficiencies by reducing the levels of inflammatory proteins.

There were two important effects noted in this stem cell therapy on the mice: the enhancement of the brain tissue repair caused by various cell-changing operations, and the regeneration of brain tissue.

Limited human trials have been conducted, but the ones that have concluded show promise for different types of stem cells as a potential therapy in the future. In one particular study1, children with Cerebral Palsy received an autologous cord blood transplant, and one-year post-transplant, they showed not only that the patients had improvements in their speech, balance, and movement, but also noted structural and metabolic improvements in the brain. The researchers involved believe this shows stem cells, especially those acquired from cord blood, as a safe and effective therapy for those with Cerebral Palsy.

  • Stem Cell Therapy for Cerebral Palsy – A Novel Option. Alok Sharma, Hemangi Sane, Nandini Gokulchandran, Prerna Badhe, Pooja Kulkarni and Amruta Paranjape. Cerebral Palsy - Challenges for the Future. ISBN 978-953-51-1234-1. DOI: 10.5772/57152 Published March 19, 2014. Found online http://goo.gl/zcxA78
FaceBook  Twitter