Cord tissue stem cells transform the life of autistic boy

Gage, who was conceived by IVF, was born naturally after a full-term pregnancy. His parents chose to delay cord clamping, while taking the additional precaution of banking his cord blood stem cells after birth. However, at 6 months old, Gage’s mother, Renee, began to worry about his health after noticing some unusual behaviours. Gage’s crawl was asymmetric, he made repetitive movements, and he did not make eye contact.

At first, Gage’s parents noticed he was crawling asymmetrically, made repetitive movement and didn’t make eye contact. By the age of two, he was diagnosed with level 2 autism spectrum disorder. This meant that he would require substantial support with verbal skills and learning development.

Determined to help her son in any way possible, Renee threw herself into research on autism and soon came across the possibility of cord blood stem cell therapy. Hoping to use Gage’s own cord blood stem cells that were stored at birth, Renee tried enrolling Gage onto a clinical trial at Duke University.

However, they were disappointed to learn that Gage’s sample had been contaminated during storage. It was then that the family turned to mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) from donated cord tissue to potentially treat Gage’s autism.

Near Gage’s third birthday, he received an infusion of MSCs from the Wharton’s jelly in cord tissue. The experimental therapy took place by Gage’s doctor not far from his home in the USA and was very straightforward.

To his parents’ surprise, Gage’s vocabulary increased rapidly following his stem cell therapy and, four more cord tissue MSC infusions later, Gage is now an outgoing and talkative 5-year old attending a mainstream school.

While Gage’s donor stem cell therapy was successful, it is believed that autologous stem cells taken from your child’s own cord blood or cord tissue are more effective. So if you’re considering stem cell banking for your child, make sure to choose a well-regulated stem cell bank that checks all the samples for common bacteria and contaminations.