I was inspired to write this post after receiving this message on Twitter regarding Cerebral Palsy:
“Any good links for stem cell and cerebral palsy in the US? Not confident in overseas companies. My little one is three and has CP.”
Cerebral palsy describes a group of permanent disorders of the development of movement and posture, causing activity limitation, that are attributed to nonprogressive disturbances that occurred in the developing fetal or infant brain. The motor disorders of cerebral palsy are often accompanied by disturbances of sensation, perception, cognition, communication, and behaviour, by epilepsy, and by secondary musculoskeletal problems.
In March 2008, a toddler diagnosed with cerebral palsy showed remarkable improvement after an infusion of his own stem cells — made possible by the preservation of his own cord blood shortly before birth.
“[Dallas’ doctors] said by the age of 7, there may be no signs of cerebral palsy at all,” Hextell told TODAY co-host Meredith Vieira while holding a curious Dallas on his lap. “So he’s on his way, as far as we’re concerned.”
Prof Colin McGuckin, the President of Novussanguis, an international research consortium on cord blood and adult stem cell research, urged parents refused the right to harvest their babies’ umbilical cord blood for storage as “biologic insurance” to sue the hospitals concerned should their offspring later develop diseases such as cerebral palsy, stroke, and type 1 diabetes, which he claimed can be treated with stem cell therapy.
I do not blame a parent for not having confidence in overseas companies to deal with CP.
Parents of children with conditions such as cerebral palsy are spending tens of thousands of dollars on unproven and possibly dangerous stem cell treatment at medical clinics in China, India, Mexico and several developing countries.
Other parents launched a £50,000 fundraising bid to pay for stem cell treatment in China to treat their daughter with CP. (Parents launch bid for £50k care)
But is it possible to receive treatment for cerebral palsy in America at a more affordable price?
Since the U.S. has more stringent regulations on unproven medical treatments, a commercial solution is not yet available. In the end, this will be more beneficial to patients who will know they are receiving tested and proven care.
However, it may be possible to receive treatment within the United States by volunteering for clinical trials, a risky decision that may reap beneficial rewards.
In July 2008, The Levines heard about an experimental procedure at Duke University in North Carolina where children with cerebral palsy were infused with their own cord blood stem cells in an effort to heal and repair damaged brain tissue. They enrolled 9-month-old Chloe Levine, who suffered from CP, after realizing they had banked Chole’s cord blood when she was born. (Cord Blood Stem Cells Reverse Girl’s Cerebral Palsy)
“Her therapist said she’s made a 50 percent recovery,” said her father, Ryan Levine. “She can walk, run, and do sign language with her right hand.”
So while it may not be the easiest thing to do to receive stem cell treatment for cerebral palsy in the U.S. right now, one thing is certain:
You need to store your newborn’s cord blood for any hope of successful treatment to be possible!
News updates regarding cerebral palsy and stem cell research:
October 2015: Cerebral palsy patient walks after stem-cell treatment