There is currently no cure for cerebral palsy and no standard therapy that works for all patients. Many of the brain damage-related incidents that cause cerebral palsy occur during pregnancy, making prevention difficult. This has lead many researchers to believe regenerative stem cell therapies provide an option to regenerate nerve tissue and repair damage to the brain.
Cerebral palsy, which affects about 500,000 people in the United States alone, is defined as brain damage that occurs before or during birth. The number of people with the disorder has increased over the last 30 years as more premature babies survive. Its effects are variable, from barely detectable to devastating loss of motor control. The causes are diverse as well, including everything from oxygen deprivation during birth to prenatal infections.
Significant treatment results are obtained from using umbilical cord stem cells without significant Graft versus Host complications. (Handgretinger, 2001).
In-vitro studies have shown cord blood stem cells are able to differentiate into neural cell types. In animal models, research has demonstrated convincing evidence that cord blood stem cells injected intravenously migrate to the brain (passing the blood-brain barrier) and improve neurological function and promote healing. The results from such studies lead many researchers to suggest that infusion of cord blood stem cells could alleviate damage to the brain tissue, reduce muscle spasm and improve gait and mobility-related problems in humans.
This research lends support for the pioneering clinical work at Duke University, focused on evaluating the impact of autologous cord blood infusions in children diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, a professor of pediatrics and pathology and director of Duke’s Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, infuses children’s own cord blood stem cells back into the body to facilitate repair of brain tissue damaged by perinatal hypoxic (oxygen-deprived) events. To date, more than 20 children have participated in the treatment with excellent results.
Regenecell’s procedure is more comprehensive and involves a 4 day process in which the child’s circulatory and nervous systems are flooded with mesenchymal cord blood stem cells to enhance the regenerative potential of the therapy. Since so few patients have their own cord blood stored we use donated cord blood cells, to which our patients have responded well without a single adverse event.