Monthly Archives: May 2013

First Successful Treatment of Pediatric Cerebral Palsy With Autologous Cord Blood: Awoken from a Persistent Vegetative State

Cord Blood Bochum’s medics have succeeded in treating cerebral palsy with autologous cord blood. Following a cardiac arrest with severe brain damage, a 2.5 year old boy had been in a persistent vegetative state — with minimal chances of survival. Just two months after treatment with the cord blood containing stem cells, the symptoms improved significantly; over the following months, 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,” says Dr. Arne Jensen of the Campus Clinic Gynaecology. Together with his colleague Prof. Dr. Eckard Hamelmann of the Department of Paediatrics at the Catholic Hospital Bochum (University Clinic of the RUB), he reports in the journal Case Reports in Transplantation.

The parents searched the literature for treatment options

At the end of November 2008, the child suffered from cardiac arrest with severe brain damage and was subsequently in a persistent vegetative state with his body paralyzed  Up to now, there has been no treatment for the cause of what is known as infantile cerebral palsy. “In their desperate situation, the parents searched the literature for alternative therapies,” Arne Jensen explains. “They contacted us and asked about the possibilities of using their son’s cord blood, frozen at his birth.”

“Threatening, if not hopeless prognosis”

Nine weeks after the brain damage, on 27 January 2009, the doctors administered the prepared blood intravenously. They studied the progress of recovery at 2, 5, 12, 24, 30, and 40 months after the insult. Usually, the chances of survival after such a severe brain damage and more than 25 minutes duration of resuscitation are six per cent. Months after the severe brain damage, the surviving children usually only exhibit minimal signs of consciousness. “The prognosis for the little patient was threatening if not hopeless,” the Bochum medics say.

Rapid recovery after cord blood therapy

After the cord blood therapy, the patient, however, recovered relatively quickly. Within two months, the spasticity decreased significantly. He was able to see, sit, smile, and to speak simple words again. Forty 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 says. “It is, however, very difficult to explain these remarkable effects by purely symptomatic treatment during active rehabilitation.”

In animal studies, stem cells migrate to damaged brain tissue

In animal studies, scientists have been researching the therapeutic potential of cord blood for some time. In a previous study with rats, RUB researchers revealed that cord blood cells migrate to the damaged area of ​​the brain in large numbers within 24 hours of administration. In March 2013, in a controlled study of one hundred children, Korean doctors reported for the first time that they had successfully treated cerebral palsy with allogeneic cord blood.

 

Source: http://www.sciencedaily.com, Rhur-Universitaet-Bochum

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University of Adelaide research raises hope for multiple sclerosis treatment

adipose stem cell A POTENTIAL new treatment for multiple sclerosis lies within modified adult stem cells, University of Adelaide researchers say.

The researchers hope using stem cells from fat tissue – to send cells with anti-inflammatory properties directly to the damaged site in the central nervous system – will be able to treat the autoimmune disease.

Director of the Centre for Molecular Pathology, Professor Shaun McColl, said treatments for MS needed to control the immune response and repair the damage caused to the fatty myelin sheaths that protect the nerves.

“We’ve already shown that adult stem cells have great potential to both control the immune response and promote repair of the central nervous system. It also prevents further damage,” Prof McColl said.

“But the trick is getting the stem cells to the right location where they can perform this function.”

 MS is a progressive disease in which the body attacks the central nervous system, causing nerve inflammation and scarring. It results in the impairment of motor, sensory and cognitive function. When stem cells are injected into the  blood system, very few cross the blood/brain barrier into the central nervous system.

Lead investigator Dr Iain Comerford said it was hoped the manipulated adult stem cells could cross that barrier, targeting the inflammation site and repairing the damaged myelin.

“It involves promoting stem-cell migration to the central nervous system by manipulating receptors on the surface of the stem cells that control cell movement,” Dr Comerford said.

“We are also modifying the stem cells to suppress the immune response by introducing molecules that regulate inflammation,” Dr Comerford added.

At the end of the three-year project, the researchers aim to show they can successfully modify the stem cells to effectively reach the central nervous system and inhibit inflammation from the disease.

Source: Jordanna Schriever, The Advertiser,  www.adelaidenow.com


Toddler Is Youngest To Ever Get Lab-Made Windpipe

organ-blood-vessels A 2-year-old girl born without a windpipe now has a new one grown from her own stem cells, the youngest patient in the world to benefit from the experimental treatment.

Hannah Warren has been unable to breathe, eat, drink or swallow on her own since she was born in South Korea in 2010. Until the operation at a central Illinois hospital, she had spent her entire life in a hospital in Seoul. Doctors there told her parents there was no hope and they expected her to die.

The stem cells came from Hannah’s bone marrow, extracted with a special needle inserted into her hip bone. They were seeded in a lab onto a plastic scaffold, where it took less than a week for them to multiply and create a new windpipe.

About the size of a 3-inch tube of penne pasta, it was implanted April 9 in a nine-hour procedure.

Early signs indicate the windpipe is working, Hannah’s doctors announced Tuesday, although she is still on a ventilator. They believe she will eventually be able to live at home and lead a normal life.

“We feel like she’s reborn,” said Hannah’s father, Darryl Warren.

“They hope that she can do everything that a normal child can do but it’s going to take time. This is a brand new road that all of us are on,” he said in a telephone interview. “This is her only chance but she’s got a fantastic one and an unbelievable one.”

Warren choked up and his wife, Lee Young-mi, was teary-eyed at a hospital news conference Tuesday. Hannah did not attend because she is still recovering from the surgery. She developed an infection after the operation but now is acting like a healthy 2-year-old, her doctors said.

Warren said he hopes the family can bring Hannah home for the first time in a month or so. Hannah turns 3 in August.

“It’s going to be amazing for us to finally be together as a family of four,” he said. The couple has an older daughter.

Only about one in 50,000 children worldwide are born with the windpipe defect. The stem-cell technique has been used to make other body parts besides windpipes and holds promise for treating other birth defects and childhood diseases, her doctors said.

The operation brought together an Italian surgeon based in Sweden who pioneered the technique, a pediatric surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria who met Hannah’s family while on a business trip to South Korea, and Hannah — born to a Newfoundland man and Korean woman who married after he moved to that country to teach English.

Hannah’s parents had read about Dr. Paolo Macchiarini’s success using stem-cell based tracheas but couldn’t afford to pay for the operation at his center, the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. So Dr. Mark Holterman helped the family arrange to have the procedure at his Peoria hospital, bringing in Macchiarini to lead the operation. Children’s Hospital waived the cost, likely hundreds of thousands of dollars, Holterman said.

Part of OSF Saint Francis Medical Center, the Roman Catholic hospital considers the operation part of their mission to provide charity care, but also views it as a way to champion a type of stem-cell therapy that doesn’t involve human embryos, the surgeons said. The Catholic church opposes using stem cells derived from human embryos in research or treatment.

Macchiarini has been involved in 14 previous windpipe operations using patients’ own stem cells — five using man-made scaffolds like Hannah’s but in adults; and nine using scaffolds made from cadaver windpipes, including one in a 10-year-old British boy.

He said only one patient died, a 30-year-old man from Abingdon, Md., who had the operation in November 2011 to treat late-stage cancer of the windpipe. He died about four months later of uncertain causes, Macchiarini said.

Similar methods have been used to grow bladders, urethras and last year a girl in Sweden got a lab-made vein using her own stem cells and a cadaver vein.

Scientists hope to eventually use the method to create solid organs, including kidneys and livers, said Dr. Anthony Atala, director of Wake Forest University’s Institute for Regenerative Medicine. He said the operation on Hannah Warren “is really showing that the technique is workable.”

Hannah had breathing difficulties at birth and Korean doctors soon discovered the missing windpipe. They reconfigured her esophagus so that a breathing tube could go down it from her mouth to her lungs. The esophagus normally runs behind the windpipe and carries food to the stomach.

Korean doctors said she couldn’t live long with the tube and told her parents there was nothing more they could do.

Hannah outlived their expectations and has thrived despite the grim prognosis and other abnormalities including an undeveloped voice box that prevented her from speaking. Now that she has a windpipe and can breathe more normally, doctors expect the larynx to grow and function normally. She will work with speech therapists to help her learn to talk.

Holterman said Hannah will likely need a new windpipe in about five years, as she grows.

She breathes with help from a ventilator but no longer has a tube in her mouth that she’d lived with since shortly after birth, Holterman said. She’s not yet able to eat normally, but doctors let her have her first taste ever of food — a few licks on a lollipop. Her father said she already has discriminating taste and prefers chocolate Korean lollipops to the American kind.

“I asked her, ‘Is it good?'” he said, “and she immediately nodded her head.”

 

Source: Lindsey Tanner, AP, http://www.bigstory.ap.org