Infant cerebral palsy and cord stem cells what is the link

Infant cerebral palsy and cord stem cells: what is the connection?

When expecting a child, numerous choices have to be made by the couple: the’hospital intended for the delivery, the screening exam to undergo, and the stem cell donation or storage.

The importance of the’use of umbilical cord stem cells

Many studies have shown the importance of the’use of umbilical cord stem cells in the treatment of various diseases, and their use is also permitted by the Ministerial Decree of Nov. 18, 2008. For more than two decades, hematopoietic stem cells have been taken from cord blood for use in allogeneic transplants intended to treat leukemia, lymphomas, immune system deficiencies and various metabolic diseases.

The’use of stem cells is also expanding to non-oncology and hematology diseases. There have been positive results in the treatment of neurological disorders such as infantile cerebral palsy (CP).

PCI is a set of neurological, ongoing, posture and movement disorders resulting from damage to the central nervous system. The’origin of neurological damage may depend on, for example, genetic diseases, hemorrhage, emboli, and may occur at different times in the life of the infant/child. This disorder affects, in Italy, 2-3 out of 1 babies.000 births, and every year the babies who develop a PCI are about 1.000 1,2 .

PCI is treated with drugs

PCI is treated with medications, general or local, and with therapies aimed at improving communication (speech therapy) and walking, then with the use of corsets, braces, etc. Ultimately, it is possible to resort to surgery.

Cord blood stem cells were first used to treat PCI about a decade ago, in 2009, by Prof. A. Jensen, from the German University of Ruhr. It involved autologous stem cells, that is, from the umbilical cord of the same child-donor, and were infused to heal brain damage caused by cardiac arrest. Thanks to rehabilitation, the baby’s psychomotor development has gradually improved 3 .

The’use of stem cells in 2011 on a 2-year-old girl

In 2011 in a 2-year-old girl with PCI in the United States, a transplant of cord stem cells from her brother’s umbilical cord was performed.

In Itali, in 2013, the first patient to undergo a transplant of autologous cord blood stem cells from private storage was Adriana. His development at the cognitive level is now considered normal 4 .

The positive results so far have encouraged the’beginning of a trial phase II clinical trial under the name “Expanded access: umbilical Cord Blood Infusions for Children With Brain Injuries,” at Duke University in the United States and expects to involve more than a thousand patients 5.6 .

Cord blood stem cells are a valuable resource for the treatment of numerous diseases, and this is also confirmed by the success achieved on patients on whom they have been transplanted.