Stem Cell Treatments and Clinical Trials | Cells4Life

Cerebral Palsy

The routine use of cord blood stem cells in regenerative therapies is not as far off as you might think

Cerebral palsy is a term that describes a variety of brain conditions that emerge in early childhood and affect coordination and movement. It is usually caused by a trauma to the brain suffered in the womb or during birth. In the UK, 1 in 400 children will suffer from cerebral palsy and to date, whilst palliative therapies exist, there is no treatment for the condition itself.

However, cord blood could provide the solution. In 2012, Dr Joanne Kurtzburg began enrolling cerebral palsy sufferers whose parents banked their cord blood at birth on a pioneering clinical trial investigating the use of stem cells to treat the condition. Whilst it is too early for final results, initial reports have been very positive with 70% of participants demonstrating improved brain development and motor skill. The success of this trial is highlighted by the continued development of the Duke University cord blood project. In June 2014, Dr Kurtzburg and her team were granted $15 million to investigate the application of cord blood stem cell treatmentsfor other illnesses including stroke, autism and other brain disorders. This money is the first instalment in the funding of this $41 million, 5-year project. The results of this program will be very exciting and such pioneering work would not have been possible without the thousands of parents who chose to bank their childrens precious cord blood at birth.

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