A 4-year-old girl with cerebral palsy appears to have improved motor function after receiving stem cell therapy, according to her mother and Advancells, a specialized cell-based therapy center in India.
Cerebral palsy is the most prevalent motor disorder in childhood, affecting from 1 to more than 4 children per 1,000 births, according to various global studies. The condition affects the brain’s ability to control movement, posture, and coordination.
Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the developing brain, usually before, during, or after birth. Brain damage during the first three to five years of a child’s life also can lead to cerebral palsy.
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that have the capacity to transform into several specialized cells of the body, including neurons. Scientists, doctors, and patients hope their use will lead to the ability to treat several diseases.
In stem cell therapy for cerebral palsy, stem cells usually are collected from a patient’s bone marrow, and then isolated and injected into the spinal canal. Stem cells are then able to travel through the spinal canal to reach the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the brain, which protects it from physical external trauma.
Advancells, a pioneer in stem cell therapy in India, shared the recent successful case in a press release.
In that case, a South African girl named Thermishaa Soman began showing signs of poor development and activity at 11 months. She was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy and visual impairment due to slight neuronal damage at birth. She showed no improvement after standard physiotherapy and occupational therapy, leading to a quest for alternative or experimental therapies, including stem cell therapy.
Thermishaa had stem cell therapy at Advancells’ treatment center in India. After treatment, she showed improved motor function, including being able to open her hands widely and attempt to sit on her own. Her muscles were more relaxed, and her visual ability is believed to have slightly improved as well.
In related news, infusions of umbilical cord blood, which remains in the attached umbilical cord after childbirth and is a known source of stem cells, was also shown to improve motor function in cerebral palsy patients.