What is cerebral palsy?Cerebral palsy is 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.
Can stem cells help children who have cerebral palsy?
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 investigational treatments 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
Which kinds of stem cells are used and how are they collected?
The Stem Cell Institute leverages adult stem cells from human umbilical cord tissue in its investigational stem cell treatments for cerebral palsy. These stem cells are harvested from donated umbilical cords. In accordance with International Blood Bank standards, all umbilical cord-derived stem cells are rigorously screened for viruses and bacteria at Medistem Labs before they are approved for use.
In some cases, stem cells harvested from the subjects’s own bone marrow are used in addition to umbilical cord tissue-derived cells.
Because HUCT stem cells are less mature than other cells, the body’s immune system is unable to recognize them as foreign and therefore they are not rejected. We’ve performed thousands of procedures using umbilical cord stem cells and there has never been a single instance rejection. HUCT stem cells also proliferate/differentiate more efficiently than “older” cells, such as those found in the bone marrow and therefore, they are considered to be more “potent”.
What are the advantages of allogeneic umbilical cord tissue-derived stem cells?
- Because HLA matching is not necessary, these cells may be given to anyone.
- 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 subject’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.
How are the stem cells administered?
A licensed physician administers the stem cells intravenously (IV).
Investigational stem cell treatment for cerebral palsy: clinical protocol
Below is an example of a typical cerebral palsy investigational treatment schedule. An investigative clinical protocol for CP will be submitted to the National Committee for review soon.
- (Monday – Friday): 1 week
- 4 intravenous infusions of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells
What is the difference between a stem cell treatment for cerebral palsy and an investigational treatment under clinical protocol for cerebral palsy?
In Panama the term “stem cell treatment” is reserved for stem cell products that have been approved for use by the Panamanian Ministry of Health (PMH). Before PMH approval, use of these products are referred to as “investigational treatment under clinical protocol” to reflect the fact that they are not yet proven and still under investigation.
At present, we are conducting clinical research and administering investigational treatment under clinical protocols that are reviewed and approved by the National Committee for Bioethics in Research Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval. The IRB reviews all investigational clinical protocols and monitors stem cell research involving human subjects.
In the United States, stem cell treatments are regulated by the Food and Drug administration (FDA). In Europe, the European Medicines Agency holds jurisdiction over stem cell treatments.
Currently, no stem cell treatments for cerebral palsy have been proven safe and effective in the United States, European Union or Panama.
What about follow-up after we return home from Panama?
Our primary concern is to ensure everyone’s safety and proper follow-up plays an essential role in that process. Regular follow-up also enables us to evaluate efficacy and improve our investigational treatment protocols based on observed outcomes.
Therefore, our medical staff will be contacting you after 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year to monitor your child’s progress.
May I contact parents of subjects who have completed a CP investigational treatment?
Yes, you may. Once your child has been evaluated and approved for participation by our medical team, your international coordinator will be happy to put you in touch with a few.
We also welcome you to view cerebral palsy testimonials, news articles and videos. 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.
To see if you or a loved one qualifies, please complete this Application Form.
Cord Blood in Regenerative Medicine: Do We Need Immune Suppression?
Riordan Neil, Chan K, Marleau A, Ichim T.
– Journal of Translational Medicine 2007, 5:8
1. Jung Hwa Seo, Sung-Rae Cho. Neurorestoration Induced by Mesenchymal Stem Cells: Potential Therapeutic Mechanisms for Clinical Trials Yonsei Med J. 2012 November 1; 53(6): 1059–1067.
2. Li Y, Chopp M. Marrow stromal cell transplantation in stroke and traumatic brain injury.Neurosci Lett. 2009;456(3):120–123.
3. Kassem M, Abdallah BM. Human bone-marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells: biological characteristics and potential role in therapy of degenerative diseases. Cell Tissue Res.2008;331(1):157–163
4. Greco SJ, Rameshwar P. Enhancing effect of IL-1alpha on neurogenesis from adult human mesenchymal stem cells: implication for inflammatory mediators in regenerative medicine. J Immunol. 2007;179(5):3342–3350.
5. Lu D, Li Y, Wang L, Chen J, Mahmood A, Chopp M. Intraarterial administration of marrow stromal cells in a rat model of traumatic brain injury. J Neurotrauma. 2001;18(8):813–819.
6. Lu D, Mahmood A, Wang L, Li Y, Lu M, Chopp M. Adult bone marrow stromal cells administered intravenously to rats after traumatic brain injury migrate into brain and improve neurological outcome. Neuroreport. 2001;12(3):559–563.
7. Chen J, Li Y, Wang L, Lu M, Zhang X, Chopp M. Therapeutic benefit of intracerebral transplantation of bone marrow stromal cells after cerebral ischemia in rats. J Neurol Sci.2001;189(1–2):49–57.
8. Sharma A, Gokulchandran N, Chopra G, Kulkarni P, Lohia M, Badhe P, Jacob VC. Administration of autologous bone marrow-derived mononuclear cells in children with incurable neurological disorders and injury is safe and improves their quality of life. Cell Transplant. 2012;21 Suppl 1:S79-90. doi: 10.3727/096368912X633798.