Sacramento, Calif., Aug 23, 2012 / 23:09 pm
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.