Monday, 01 Feb, 2010 Health & Fitness

Cord Blood Improves the Condition of a Child with Severe Cerebral Palsy


Chloe Levine seemed perfectly healthy when she was born. But when their little girl was 9 month old, the couple noticed that she couldn't even hold her bottle, as she held her left hand in a tight fist. Parents were told Chloe had suffered a stroke in utero and as a result had a severe Cerebral Palsy.

The disease affected the right side of her body. Later, the condition also manifested itself in a speech impairment. The fact that Chloe was never to have a normal life broke her mother's heart. The couple refused to accept the condition of their daughter. Fortunately, they had preserved stem cells from the girl's umbilical cord when she was born.

When she was 2 years old, Chloe went through a re-infusion of these banked cells. The procedure lasted for about 15 minutes. The therapy was expected to have a benefic effect on the state of the patient, as the stem cells have been used in medicine for several decades, especially in blood and immune diseases, as well as in treating cancer. The cells used in most cases are from the bone marrow, reports They can reinforce the person's immune system, enabling her to fight even a very severe disease.

But the stem sells from the cord are even "smarter", according to David Zitlow, vice president of corporate communications at Cord Blood Registry. These cells are much younger and aren't affected by various outside factors, such as viruses. Thus they're much more effective. Besides, the cells are from the patient's own blood, so the organism doesn't reject them. Once the umbilical cells get into the body, they stick to the exact affected spot and help the injured cells or tissue repair itself.

According to the doctors, the first improvements of the Chloe's state are to be seen in 3 to 6 months after the infusion. Her right hand soon relaxed and even her speech improved. "Now she has a normal life", her mother Jenny says, "she can drive her toy tractor now, and it was pretty difficult for her before. She even rides a bike, a scooter." Scientists aren't able to say whether the effect of the infusion would last for babies like Chloe, but there are still chances.

Soon studies will show whether infused stem cord cells had the benefic effect on kids like Chloe, or it was due to other factors. Researchers are currently trying to find out the effect of such infusions in several brain injuries, congenital hydrocephalus, type I diabetes, neurological and cardiovascular diseases, as well as various implications of lack of oxygen in the prenatal period (which nay lead to developmental delays and neurological and motor impairments).

Posted by lady_olga

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