Infantile Cerebral Palsy Treated With Stem Cells
A boy known as L.B. is the first child with infantile cerebral palsy to be successfully treated with stem cells from his own umbilical cord blood, according to the German doctors who performed the treatment.
In her May 25th Daily Mail article, Rachel Reilly reported that two-year-old L.B. went into cardiac arrest in November 2008. He was paralyzed, with severe brain damage, and remained in a vegetative state. With no known treatment for the cause of infantile cerebral palsy, doctors held out little hope that he would survive.
Dr. Arne Jensen of the Campus Clinic Gynaecology said that L.B.’s parents researched alternative therapies and contacted doctors at the clinic to determine whether their son could be treated using his stored umbilical cord blood.
In January 2009, nine weeks after the brain damage, Dr. Jensen’s team administered the prepared blood intravenously and studied L.B.’s recovery at 2, 5, 12, 24, 30 and 40 months after the brain injury.
The likelihood of surviving such severe brain damage and over 25 minutes of resuscitation is just six percent; months after suffering this brain damage, children who do survive generally display minimal signs of consciousness. But within two months, L.B.’s muscle spasticity lessened significantly and he could see, sit, smile and speak simple words. L.B. could eat on his own, walk with help and speak in four-word sentences by about 40 months after treatment.
Dr. Jensen and Professor Dr. Eckard Hamelmann of the Department of Paediatrics at the Catholic Hospital Bochum (University Clinic of the RUB) reported on the treatment in the Case Reports in Transplantation journal. Dr. Jensen said the doctors could not definitively state the reason for L.B.’s recovery based on these results but noted that it would be “very difficult to explain these remarkable effects by purely symptomatic treatment during active rehabilitation.”
“Our findings, along with those from a Korean study, dispel the long-held doubts about the effectiveness of the new therapy,” said Dr. Jensen. In March, Korean doctors reported that, in a controlled study of 100 children, they had successfully treated cerebral palsy with allogeneic cord blood for the first time.
Note that this treatment did not use embryonic stem cells but stem cells from the boy’s own umbilical cord blood.