February 7, 2013

Cerebral Palsy Treatment May Be Tied to Umbilical Cord Blood Cells

by Levin & Perconti

The Chicago cerebral palsy attorneys at our firm work with many local families whose youngsters suffer from the condition as a result of preventable birth injury. When helping family receive compensation for the lifetime of extra costs, we often explain how cerebral palsy does not have an actual cure--a fact which affects damages in a settlement or judgement. Instead, much of the work done now is helping those with cerebral palsy maximize their skill set and integrate into a community as much as possible despite the unique challenges they face.

However, just because there are limited options right now for recovery, does not mean that nothing will ever be known about reversing the brain damage which is the hallmark of cerebral palsy. Many medical researchers are working diligently on the problem, and it is reasonable to hope that advances will be made in the years and decades ahead.

For one thing, research out of Australia was published last month which offers a great sign that might ultimately lead to a cerebral palsy cure.

Cerebral Palsy & Umbilical Cord Blood Cells
According to a summary of the study which was published in the journal Stem Cells, participants in the research received an infusion of umbilical cord blood cells. Afterward, those patients showed significant improvement in brain function.

In describing the significance of the study, the head of a leading cerebral palsy research group exclaimed, “I think this is the most promising study we've ever seen in the area of stem cells. This is looking like a possible path to a cure."

The Specifics
The report explains how 30 different children with cerebral palsy were given treatments which included a combination of rehab and umbilical cord blood. The cord blood was donated and not connected with the specific child who received it as part of the study. Each participant was measured before the treatment to get a baseline estimate of cognitive and motor ability. The treatments then lasted six months before the children were re-tested.

The results showed that those children who receive the umbilical cord blood were showed far more improvement than those who did not receive the cells. Specifically, it seemed that the youngest children--those under three years old--showed the most significant improvement upon receipt of the umbilical cord blood.

Experts believe that the umbilical cord cells may help in recovery because the unique stem cells found in the umbilical cord blood may help to actually rejuvenate damaged or destroyed brain cells. Part of the reason why birth injuries connected to brain damage are so severe is that we currently have no way to actual reverse the damage. Stem cells offer one of the best opportunities to change that, because the cells are have very unique properties

There is still a way to go before such stem therapy treatments might be widely used by doctors. That is because close analysis of possible adverse effects must still be conducted. Once those potential negatives are sorted through, then experts can hopefully delve more specifically into the positive outcomes to understand how they were achieved and what can be done to maximize the benefit.

See Other Blog Posts:

Raising Awareness of In Utero Injuries

Cerebral Palsy Diagnosis Turned Out to Be Wrong