Stem Cell Therapy for Cerebral Palsy

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral palsy is a condition that results from injuries or abnormalities of the brain, usually in the womb but occurring any time during 2 years after birth. It affects brain and nervous system functions such as thinking, seeing, hearing, learning and movement.

Common causes are hypoxia (low oxygen levels), head injury, maternal infections such as rubella, brain bleeding, brain infection, and severe jaundice. Types of CP include: ataxic, hypotonic, spastic, dyskinetic, and mixed.

Mesenchymal stem cells from umbilical cord are considered to be universal donor cells because they are not immediately recognized as foreign. The cells home to damaged tissue and are known to secrete molecules called trophic factors.

Trophic factors from mesenchymal stem cells are known to stimulate repair of damaged nervous tissue in both the brain and the spinal cord. Some of these are neurotrophic factors that promote neuronal growth, induce new blood vessel growth, neurogenesis and astroglial activation, encourage synaptic connection and axonal remyelination, decrease programed cell death, and regulate microglial activation.1

Mesenchymal stem cells stimulate brain repair after stroke1 and traumatic brain injury.2,3,4

Animal studies show that mesenchymal stem cell can migrate into the brain and survive.5,6,7

Because we utilize allogeneic cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells, we are able to offer treatment to any qualified patient, not just those who saved their own cord blood at birth. We will discuss several additional advantages of allogeneic cord-derived stem cells below.

There is evidence to support that bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells are safe and improve the quality of life in children with neurological disorders including cerebral palsy.8

A recent study using umbilical cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells to treat cerebral palsy found no serious adverse side effects.  Improvements were observed, especially in functional scales except for the Tardieu Scale9.

Through administration of mesenchymal stem cells, we have observed improvements in cerebral palsy patients treated at our facilities.

The adult stem cells used to treat cerebral palsy at the Stem Cell Institute come from human umbilical cord tissue (allogeneic mesenchymal). Umbilical cords are donated by mothers after normal, healthy births. Before they are approved for treatment all umbilical cord-derived stem cells are screened for viruses and bacteria to International Blood Bank Standards.

Umbilical cord-derived stem cells allow our physicians to administer uniform doses and they do not require any stem cell collection from the patient, which, especially for children and their parents, can be an arduous process. Because they are collected right after (normal) birth, umbilical cord-derived cells are much more potent than their “older” counterparts like fat-derived cells for instance. Cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells pose no rejection risk because the body does not recognize them as foreign.

  • Since HUCT mesenchymal stem cells are immune system privileged, cell rejection is not an issue and Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) matching is not necessary.
  • The stem cells with the best anti-inflammatory activity, immune modulating capacity, and ability to stimulate regeneration can be screened and selected.
  • Allogeneic stem cells can be administered multiple times over the course of days in uniform dosages that contain high cell counts.
  • Umbilical cord tissue provides an abundant supply of mesenchymal stem cells.
  • No need to collect stem cells from the patient’s hip bone or fat under anesthesia, which especially for small children and their parents, can be an unpleasant ordeal.
  • There is a growing body of evidence showing that umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells are more robust than mesenchymal stem cells from other sources.
  • No need to administer chemotherapy drugs like Granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF or GCSF) to stimulate the bone marrow to produce granulocytes and stem cells and release them into the bloodstream.

Human umbilical cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) that were isolated and grown in our laboratory in Panama to create master cell banks are currently being used in the United States under US FDA regulation.

These cells serve as the starting material for cellular products used in MSC clinical trials for two Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy patients under US FDA’s designation of Investigational New Drug (IND) for single patient compassionate use. (IND 16026 DMD Single Patient).

The cost of our BHRT pellets is significantly less expensive than the other possible delivery methods described above.

The appropriate dose of hormone pellets will be individually selected for you to take several different factors into consideration. These include your age, body type, pre-treatment hormone levels, and the degree/types of symptoms present.

The bioidentical hormone pellets are inserted with very little discomfort under the skin in the upper buttocks region just below the pants line. We use a local anesthetic (usually lidocaine) to numb the skin and surrounding tissue, and then a needle is inserted. The very small hormone pellets (about the size of a grain of rice or Tic Tac) are then placed in the hollow needle and slid into the proper place under the skin, in the fatty tissue. You will barely feel the local anesthetic as it numbs the skin and tissue. Most people describe it as hurting less than a flu shot or drawing blood from a vein for routine labs. You will usually feel no pain at all after the skin and tissue has been numbed, and while placing the pellets through the hollow needle. For a couple of days after the procedure, the only discomfort you will experience is similar to that of a mild bruise. You will be able to resume all of your normal activities immediately
following the procedure. We only ask that you avoid any strenuous
activities that specifically target the buttocks muscles for a few days.

We would then have you return to the clinic in 5 weeks for a re-evaluation with the labs repeated. We would review your new hormone levels to see if they are now in the target range and correlate this with the degree of improvement in your symptoms. This helps us determine your correct hormone dosage and adjustments can be made.

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