Boy’s own cord blood stem cells help treat autism

When Maxim and his twin sister were born seven years ago in Ukraine, their mother, Olga, had already made the decision to store their cord blood stem cells at birth. While both twins seemed healthy at first, it was only a few months before Maxim started eating and sleeping poorly.

After initially being diagnosed with lactose intolerance at the age of three, doctors went on to discover that Maxim was autistic and displaying other impairments.

After a series of examinations, the doctors made a preliminary diagnosis: autism spectrum disorder. Subsequently, dysarthria, alalia, echolalia and cognitive impairment were added to the list of probable diseases, in other words, the diseases associated with impaired higher mental functions. Of course, it is difficult to treat a child without a specific diagnosis, but I followed all the instructions of the doctors.

- Olga, Maxim’s mother

In the hopes of improving his condition, Maxim underwent various treatments and drug therapies – none of which were effective. It was then that Maxim’s parents decided to try using their cord blood stem cells, which were stored for him at birth.

It wasn’t long before Maxim was transferred to a hospital in Ukraine for cord blood stem cell therapy. This time, the treatment was a success. Maxim began to focus his eyes, listen to speech from others and try to speak back. He even started to enjoy colouring and learning the alphabet.

Following a more recent second stem cell treatment with his sister’s cord blood sample, Maxim’s condition made further improvements and he is now going to school.

I was afraid that I would stay like that forever ‒ being mom and not mom at the same time…And now I’m sure that we are able to overcome all difficulties! And our family will be happy! If I could, I would shout from the housetops that stem cells work wonders!

- Olga

While it’s estimated that 1 in 100 people in the UK are on the autistic spectrum, there are only around 4,000 diagnoses in Ukraine. It is hoped that medical advancements such as stem cell therapy could open up the possibility for more diagnosis and treatments of autism in Ukraine and around the world.