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Clinical Trial May Provide Clues for Treating Cerebral Palsy

An FDA-approved study at the University of Texas Health Science Center will evaluate a new cerebral palsy treatment that uses stem cells taken from the bone marrow in a child’s hip bone. It is the first clinical trial of its kind, and will look at both the safety and effectiveness of stem cells from bone marrow in treating small children with cerebral palsy. The study will compare stem cells from bone marrow with stem cells from umbilical cord blood, which have also been studied in relation to their effectiveness in treating cerebral palsy.

The start of the University of Texas trial comes less than a year after the beginning of a similar FDA-approved study at the Medical College of Georgia. The Georgia study focused on stem cells from umbilical cord blood. Blood is taken from the umbilical cord at the time of birth, and stems cells from that blood are later used to treat the child who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.

Methodology of University of Texas Study

The trial at the University of Texas will include 30 children with cerebral palsy between the ages of two and 10. Fifteen of the children had umbilical cord blood taken and stored at the time of their births, and the other 15 did not. The 15 who did will receive stem cells from that blood, while the 15 who did not will receive stem cells from their bone marrow. Five children from each group will, without them or their parents knowing, receive a placebo instead of stem cells. All the children will have follow-up visits at six, 12, and 24 months. After 12 months, the parents of the children in the placebo group can choose to start their kids on stem cell treatment.

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments for Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral palsy is a catch-all term for a group of disorders that affect the brain and nervous system, and that impede the ability to move around and maintain balance. It is caused by injury to the baby’s brain during pregnancy, delivery, or immediately after birth. These injuries can include oxygen deprivation, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), bleeding in the brain, various infections in the mother that infect the baby, meningitis, and kernicterus.

Recent animal studies have found that stem cells can restore damaged tissue and organs, thus effectively treating cerebral palsy. These results are promising for humans as well, and the studies in Texas and Georgia are important first steps in determining whether stem cell treatment should become the norm for children with cerebral palsy. If so, it will be wonderful news for thousands of children and their families.

What to Do if Your Child Has Been Injured During Birth

If your child has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and you believe that this condition may be the result of a birth injury, you should contact a personal injury attorney immediately. An attorney can review the facts of your case and determine whether you have a viable claim. If so, they can help you seek the compensation you deserve.