Brain Injuries Could be Treated with Stem Cells

There continue to be more and more breakthroughs in the therapeutic uses of stem cells. A new study coming out of the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), shows that stem cells derived from a patient's own bone marrow were safely used in pediatric patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI). This was a phase I clinical trial, and the results were published in the March issue of Neurosurgery in the journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

According to Charles S. Cox, Jr., M.D., the study's lead author and professor of pediatric neurosurgery at the UTHealth Medical School, "Our data demonstrate that the acute harvest of bone marrow and infusion of bone marrow mononuclear cells to acutely treat severe TBI in children is safe." This clinical trial is done was done with a group of 10 children aged 5 to 14 who suffered with severe TBI. This study was done in partnership with Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. The children were treated using their own stem cells collected from their bone marrow within 48 hours of their injury.


Currently, the Department of Neurology at UT Health is currently testing the same bone marrow stem cell procedure in adults with acute stroke.

 
Phase I trials are just meant to test the safety of a procedure rather than its effectiveness. However, at the six month follow up, all of the pediatric patients who participated in the study had significant improvement, and 7 of the children having a “good outcome,” meaning no or only a mild disability. TBI can cause serious complications and disability in patients. Right now, there is no effective treatment to protect or promote brain repair in children who have survived severe TBI, which means the possibility of treatment using stem cells is an exciting possibility.

Source: University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston


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