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Two-year-old boy with cerebral palsy successfully treated with stem cells

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 26th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Doctors in Germany say they have successfully treated a child suffering with cerebral palsy with stem cells. Left in a vegetative state, the boy is now able to talk and move.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Known only as "L.B.," the patient was given an intravenous stem cell treatment from umbilical cord blood. Having suffered a heart attack, the boy's condition improved considerably.

The doctors say that the success of the treatment should dispel "long-held doubts" surrounding the effectiveness of stem cell therapy.

After going into cardiac arrest in November of 2008, the two-year-old boy was left paralyzed with severe brain damage and in a vegetative state. Doctors told his parents that his chances of survival were minimal.

"In their desperate situation, the parents searched the literature for alternative therapies," Dr. Arne Jensen of the Campus Clinic Gynecology, who carried out the new treatment said. "They contacted us and asked about the possibilities of using their son's cord blood, frozen at his birth."

In January of 2009, after nine weeks after the brain damage, the doctors administered the prepared blood intravenously.

Recording the progress of recovery at two, five, 12, 24, 30, and 40 months after his brain injury, doctors said that the chances of survival after such a severe brain damage and more than 25 minutes duration of resuscitation was six percent.

Two months after treatment with the cord blood containing stem cells, his symptoms improved significantly. The child learned to speak simple sentences and to move.

"Our findings, along with those from a Korean study, dispel the long-held doubts about the effectiveness of the new therapy," Jensen said.

Within two months, the boy was able to see, sit, smile, and to speak simple words again.

Three years and four months after treatment, the child was able to eat independently, walk with assistance, and form four-word sentences.

"Of course, on the basis of these results, we cannot clearly say what the cause of the recovery is," Jensen said. "It is, however, very difficult to explain these remarkable effects by purely symptomatic treatment during active rehabilitation."

In March of this year, in a controlled study of 100 children, Korean doctors reported for the first time that they had successfully treated cerebral palsy with allergenic cord blood.

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