What is autism?Autism is a spectrum of disorders characterized by marked abnormalities in communication and social interactions. Two common consistent findings are associated in children with this disorder are diminished oxygenation in specific areas of the brain and a chronic immunologically mediated inflammatory condition in the gut.
What is the rationale behind using stem cells to treat autism?
Current investigative therapies for autism attempt to reverse these abnormalities through administration of antibiotics, anti‐inflammatory agents, and hyperbaric oxygen. Unfortunately, none of these approaches address the root causes of oxygen deprivation and intestinal inflammation.
The rationale behind treating autism with umbilical cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells is that autism, and its degree of severity, has been significantly correlated inflammatory and neuro-inflammatory cytokines including macrophage-derived chemokine (MDC) and thymus and activation-regulated chemokine (TARC). Intravenous administration of umbilical cord MSCs has been shown in multiple clinical trials to decrease inflammation. Decreasing inflammation in the autistic patient may alleviate symptoms of autism.
Through administration of mesenchymal stem cells, we have observed improvement in patients treated at our facilities.
Related Scientific Publications:
Which types of stem cells are used to treat autism and how are they obtained?
The adult stem cells used to treat autism 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. In some cases, we also utilize stem cells harvested from the patient’s own bone marrow.
Umbilical cord-derived stem cells are ideal for the treatment of autism because they allow our physicians to administer uniform doses and they do not require any stem cell collection from the patient, which for autistic 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 bone marrow-derived cells for instance. Cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells pose no rejection risk because the body does not recognize them as foreign.
The body’s immune system is unable to recognize umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells as foreign and therefore they are not rejected. HUCT stem cells have been administered thousands of times at the Stem Cell Institute and there has never been a single instance rejection (graft vs. host disease). Umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells also proliferate/differentiate more efficiently than “older” cells, such as those found in the fat and therefore, they are considered to be more “potent”.
Our stem cells and the US FDA
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.
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)
What are the advantages of treating with allogeneic umbilical cord tissue-derived stem cells?
- 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.
In this next video (just past the 1 minute mark), Arnold Caplan, PhD explains the mechanism by which donor mesenchymal stem cells shield themselves from the recipient’s immune system. Dr. Caplan is the scientist who discovered the mesenchymal stem cell. He is commonly referred to as “the father of the mesenchymal stem cell”.
Dr. Riordan on the Umbilical Cord Selection Process at Stem Cell Institute
“Through retrospective analysis of our cases, we’ve identified proteins and genes that allow us to screen several hundred umbilical cord donations to find the ones that we know are most effective. We only use these cells and we call them ‘golden cells’.
We go through a very high throughput screening process to find cells that we know have the best anti-inflammatory activity, the best immune modulating capacity, and the best ability to stimulate regeneration.”
How are the stem cells administered for autism treatment?
The umbilical cord-derived stem cells are administered intravenously by a licensed physician.
Stem Cell Treatment: Autism *Protocols
*NOTE – Treatment protocol will be assigned by staff physicians after the patient has submitted all requested medical information and received approval. A patient’s recommended protocol may differ from the example given below.
Below is an example of a typical autism *protocol:
- Treatment length (Monday – Friday): 5 Days
- Physical examination and blood testing: Monday
- 4 intravenous infusions of human umbilical cord tissue-derived allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells: Tuesday – Friday
*Includes Hilton hotel room with breakfast, WIFI, transportation from and to the airport with VIP airport gate service and expedited customs clearance upon arrival, and transportation between the Hilton and Stem Cell Institute.
What about follow-up after we return home from Panama?
Proper follow-up is an essential part of the autism treatment process. Our primary goal is to ensure that your child is progressing safely. Regular follow-up also enables us to evaluate efficacy and improve our autism treatment protocols based on observed outcomes.
Therefore, our medical staff will be contacting you after 1 month, 3 months, 4 months, and 1 year to monitor your child’s progress.
May I speak with the parents of any successfully treated patients?
Yes, you may. Once your child has been evaluated and approved for treatment by our medical team, your patient coordinator will be happy to put you in touch with a few.
We also welcome you to view testimonials, news articles and videos from treated cerebral palsy. Please take a look!
How do I request more information?
You may contact us by telephone 1 (800) 980-STEM (toll-free in US) and 1 (954) 358-3382.
Apply for treatment today
To apply for stem cell treatment, please complete this Patient Application Form.