Autologous cord blood investigated for treating cerebral palsy in children

One in 400 children are diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP) – a condition caused by brain development problems before, during or soon after birth. Although there is no single treatment yet, growing evidence suggests that certain types of stem cells could help treat the symptoms of CP.

Cerebral palsy is a lifelong disability that affects movement, eating, speaking and can even cause learning disabilities. These symptoms may not be obvious immediately, often taking between two to three years to become noticeable. The cause of 70% of CP cases is unknown, although in 20% of children it can be associated with prematurity, perinatal trauma or brain hypoxia.

Autologous cord blood and stem cells are currently being investigated to both diagnose and treat the symptoms of CP, as they could show promise for encouraging neuro-development.
Currently there are nine early-stage clinical trials assessing the use of autologous umbilical cord blood infusions in over 2,500 children with hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy – a form of CP. Researchers has identified proteins, growth factors and other molecules found in cord blood which could encourage neurodevelopment in these patients. Preliminary studies also suggest that neural (brain) stem cells and mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) could promote brain cell repair.

If these clinical trials are developed further and tested on more participants, cerebral palsy patients could receive a much quicker and more effective form of treatment. Today, therapies focus on the management of symptoms through physiotherapy, occupational therapy and medication – to help patients lead a better quality of life.

The scientists at Future Health Biobank are following the developments on the cerebral palsy field and are happy to answer your questions as soon as updates are published. Contact us on 0115 967 7707 or email to learn more.