Kenneth Kelley, an eight-year old child from the Bangor area will be the first person from Maine to receive adult stem cell therapy for autism. Stem cell therapy for the treatment of autism has been performed in many North American children who have traveled to the ICM clinic in Central America, with several news reports of patient improvements, and one scientific publication from the group supporting the rationale for this therapy (Ichim et al. Stem Cell Therapy for Autism. 2007 Jun 27;5:30).
Autism is a disorder of the brain that occurs as a child is growing up, and is associated with repetitive behavior, lack of ability to interact socially, and impaired communication skills. To date there is no cure for autism, although a variety of experimental interventions are being performed with varying degrees of success.
Adult stem cell therapy for autism is based on the idea that a chronic inflammatory condition in the gut of autistic children may resolve or at least diminished from the healing effects of the mesenchymal stem cells. The other stem cell type that is used for treatment of autism comes from the cord blood. Cord blood stem cells have been demonstrated by numerous American and international scientific groups to secrete factors that promote healing of nerves and enhance oxygenation of the brain.
Marty Kelly, mother of Kenneth, like many parents of autistic children, initially could not believe the diagnosis of autism. Kenneth was 2 years old when his doctors made the diagnosis, which is believed to be made in as many as 1 in 144 children. Marty Kelly, determined to do something about it, arranged for Kenneth to start receiving hyperbaric oxygen treatments for her son, which caused an improvement in his condition. According to her:
"One of the first things we did was buy a hyperbaric oxygen chamber and within a couple of days, he actually sat down and traced the alphabet from A to Z by himself which was huge. First time he’d ever done that."
Hyperbaric oxygen increases growth factor production in the brain, as well as, by providing oxygen theoretically overcomes some of the problems reported in autistic children such as poor oxygenation of certain parts of the brain. In the case of Kenneth, while there were improvements, these were not cures and the underlying condition still caused significant suffering in the Kelley household:
"It’s really hard because he just we can’t go anywhere and we can’t have anyone over. He just screams all day."
Marty is confident adult stem cell therapy will cause benefits in Kenneth based on knowledge of previous children who have been treated with varying degrees of success.
To discuss and learn more about adult stem cell therapy for autism, an Autism Biomedical support group is being created. The first meeting is july 18th at 10 am. To learn more, call 942-2459.
Click the play button in the video below to watch a news report of another autistic child treated with stem cells.