Loading
Trial to study cord blood stem cells' effects on autism
An image of cord blood neurons. Credit: Cord Blood Registry.
An image of cord blood neurons. Credit: Cord Blood Registry.
By Kevin J. Jones
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Stem cell researchers are launching the first FDA-approved clinical trial to examine whether cord blood stem cells can improve the condition of children with autism.

“This is the start of a new age of research in stem cell therapies for chronic diseases such as autism, and a natural step to determine whether patients receive some benefit from an infusion of their own cord blood stem cells,” Dr. Michael Chez, the study’s principal investigator, said Aug. 21.

Dr. Chez is the director of Pediatric Neurology with the Sutter Neuroscience Institute in Sacramento, Calif. The institute has joined with the major stem cell bank CBR (Cord Blood Registry) to examine the effect of the stem cell therapy on autistic children.

The clinical study will enroll 30 children ages two through seven who are diagnosed with autism and meet other criteria, CBR says. Participants will receive two infusions, one of the child’s own cord blood stem cells and one of a placebo, over 13 months. The trial intends to determine whether the cells help improve patients’ language and behavior.

One in 88 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with autism, a developmental disorder that affects social, language and behavioral skills.

Chez said there is evidence that some autistic children have dysfunctional immune systems that damage or delay their nervous system development.

“Cord blood stem cells may offer ways to modulate or repair the immune systems of these patients which would also improve language and some behavior in children who have no obvious reason to have become autistic,” he said.

Umbilical cord blood contains unique stem cells that have been used for more than 20 years to treat some cancers, blood diseases and immune disorders.

Dr. Maureen L. Condic, associate professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy at the University of Utah, told CNA she is “intrigued” by the study but “cautious.”

“Autism is a very complex and poorly understood condition,” she said Aug. 22.

Umbilical cord stem cells are obtained from a patient at birth and are therefore genetically identical to the patient. This means that they will not be rejected by the patient’s immune system.

Embryonic stem cells, by contrast, are obtained from human embryos destroyed to produce stem cells.

“They are likely to be rejected by the patient's immune system, unless the patient is treated with immune-suppressing drugs,” she added. “Undifferentiated embryonic stem cells produce tumors when injected into patients, and cannot be used for therapies without first manipulating these cells to produce a mature cell type.”

Catholic ethics rejects the use of embryonic stem cells because they are derived from destroying a human embryo.

Tags: Medicine, Stem Cells

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
24

Liturgical Calendar

October 24, 2014

Friday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 12:54-59

Gospel
Date
10/24/14
10/23/14
10/22/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Eph 4: 1-6
Gospel:: Lk 12: 54-59

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/24/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 12:54-59

Homily
Date
10/24/14
10/23/14
10/22/14