To even suggest there might be such a thing as a "cerebral palsy cure" only a handful of years ago would surely have invited a storm of criticism and even denunciation from doctors, researchers and the media. But today this is not deemed an impossible dream or something on the fringe. Advances in biomedical science, especially with respect to the use of nonembryonic or adult stem cells, holds great promise for turning the tables on some aspects of cerebral palsy (CP) such as spasticity. Actually even some Ivy League universities are now doing leading edge work with adult stem cells for cerebral palsy.
For example, beginning around 2008 Duke University pediatric neurology researchers began treating cerebral palsy in children using cord blood transfusions. And at Medical College of Georgia researchers has done work on animal models of CP (rats) using cord blood stem cells, and are now preparing to carry out a clinical study involving forty (40) children with CP.
Interestingly, at least five (5) years before either of the aforementioned schools embarked on their line of clinical research, doctors in Mexico and other countries were already busy treating children and infants with CP using pure cord blood stem cells and reporting some impressive results. In fact, during 2004-5 Fernando Ramirez, MD and his medical team in Tijuana conducted an informal pilot study involving eight (8) children with CP who received injections of umbilical cord blood derived stem cells. Eight out of eight children showed some improvement in mobility and / or cognitive function. One participant named Adam Susser went into the study cortically blind due to atrophy of his optic nerves and began tracking objects during the fourth month following his treatment. Adam went into the study with virtually no chance of ever seeing according to experts at a major Florida vision institute.
This study was published in the free access scientific journal Medical Hypotheses & Research (3: 679-686) during 2005 and is but one of many such reports that suggest a "cerebral palsy cure" is within reach.
Another leading edge experimental treatment for CP is hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT.) In HBOT patients in a sealed chamber breathe 100% oxygen under pressure for a set time. In CP it is typically administered for one hour, once or twice daily, for five or six days a week. The oxygen increase to brain tissue is thought to bring minimally functioning or dormant brain cells to life.
Various studies have shown that HBOT does benefit CP patients, though these findings are disputed and far from conclusive. Many experts, however, contend sufficient grounds exist for additional clinical trials.
While it can not be said modern medicine is close to a cerebral palsy cure, there are many good indications it is moving closer to this long sought goal.