Raising a child is not an easy task, and it becomes more difficult for parents of children with disabilities. Cerebral palsy is one of the most common childhood disorders. Children with cerebral palsy find it difficult to walk, sit, communicate and even eat. Even simple movement like standing is also difficult. Normal day to day activities of a normal kid becomes the great achievements in cerebral palsy patients. On an average 2-3 children per 1000 suffer from cerebral palsy and approximately 8 lakhs people are currently living with this disorder. It is caused by damage in brain and mainly affects muscle movements.

Currently there is no cure of cerebral palsy. A variety of nondrug available therapies such as physiotherapy, speech and occupational therapy tend to improve the quality of every day routine life. These therapies do not cure the disease; just enhance functional abilities of a person affected with cerebral palsy. Sometimes Botox injections are prescribed to reduce muscle spasticity, but have side effects like fever, bruising, bleeding, neck pain etc.

In recent time, stem cell therapy is arising as viable option for treatment of neuro degenerative disorders. A large number of clinical trials are happening across the world to assess the potential of stem cells in patients affected with cerebral palsy. In a recently published study, seventeen patients with cerebral palsy exhibited good response after administering bone marrow derived stem cells. In another clinical trial done at Vietnam, gross motor function of patients was markedly improved 3 months or 6 months after stem cell transplantation. The transplants led to major improvements in patients’ muscle tone. Many of them either totally or partially reacquired capabilities such as sitting, standing, lying down, and rolling. Factors such as age, sex, and severity of the disease had no impact on the results.

With these positive outcomes, researchers believe that stem cell therapy can be used to treat neurological disorders like cerebral palsy. Stem cell therapy involves injecting the patient’s own stem cells into their body which can repair and rejuvenate brain cells, thus controlling the severity of the symptoms. Usually, the stem cells are extracted from the patient’s bone marrow and injected back to patients and cells start its healing process. The advantages with patients own stem are that they do not get rejected from body and have no side effects. In some clinical trials, umbilical cord stem cells are also used as scientists believe these young stem cells have better rejuvenation potential. Growth 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 axonal myelination.

Stem cell transplantation aims to protect and repair damaged cells before they are completely useless, causing permanent damage to brain. The science around the stem cells is continuously evolving and we hope that with stem cell therapy, cerebral palsy affected child will also be able to open his wings and fly and will not be restricted to wheelchair.

This article is written by Dr. Hemlata Chhabra- Manager R&D at Advancells. Any Suggestion, Please Email us: care@advancells.com