Stem cell therapy treatment refers to the process of introducing new, healthy cells into damaged tissues in an effort to restore function and treat tissue damage. As a form of genetic medicine, stem cell therapy is thought, by many esteemed medical researchers, to have the potential to eventually treat a range of currently incurable conditions, including cancer, type-1 diabetes and neurological diseases, such as cerebral palsy.
Stem cells are multi-cellular organisms that can renew themselves and mature into a variety of specialized cells, including blood, skin, intestinal or brain cells. Specifically for the treatment of cerebral palsy, the theory is that doctors will eventually be able to inject a patient with his or her own stem cells (which come from either from saved umbilical blood cord cells or are generated from a patient's bone marrow cells) to regenerate the damaged brain tissues that cause cerebral palsy.
Despite provocative and compelling research, however, stem cell therapy for cerebral palsy is still controversial. In fact, this form of treatment is currently only available in clinical settings due to the fact that the FDA has not yet approved a commercial process for using stem cell therapy to treat cerebral palsy patients.
Cerebral Palsy Stem Cell Research
According to Dr. David Steinblock of the Brain Therapeutics Medical Clinic, approximately 90 percent of cerebral palsy patients who receive stem cell therapy treatments show astounding signs of improvement within days of receiving stem cell injections.
The following describe just a small fraction of the ongoing stem cell treatment research that is currently being conducted (or has recently been conducted) worldwide:
- July 2009: A cerebral palsy researcher in California reported that a 16-year old cerebral palsy patient was able to walk and use the right side of her body following injections of bone marrow stem cells.
- March 2008: Texas researchers report that a 7-year old cerebral palsy patient displayed significant improvements in cognition, ambulation and coordination following injections of stem cells that were saved from his umbilical blood cord tissues.
- April 2007: Researchers in Beijing, China report that a 19-year old person with cerebral palsy was able to walk, write, speak and concentrate after receiving stem cell injections into his spinal fluid.
Researchers are still investigating how to control the stem cells' ability to regenerate, as well as which injection sites are the most/least effective.