Can cord blood alleviate Autism?


Dr. Michael Chez with a patient The FDA has approved the first ever clinical trial that gives children infusions of their own cord blood stem cells as therapy for autism.

No one knows why the diagnosis of autism has been increasing in recent years, but as of 2008 the CDC says that 1 in 88 children are on the spectrum of autism related disorders. Autism is the leading cause of developmental delays in children, especially difficulties with communication and socialization. Because the condition is lifelong and conventional medicine has no cure, many families have turned to alternative therapies. If cord blood therapy can make a difference for these children, it will revolutionize both the community approach to treating autism, as well as public perceptions about the importance of storing cord blood in case of family need.

The one year FDA trial will be a double blind phase 2 study against a placebo, but patients will cross arms half way through so that all participants will receive the cord blood therapy, just on different timescales. The lead investigator of the trial is Dr. Michael Chez, director of pediatric neurology at the Sutter Neuroscience Institute in Sacramento. 

The study will recruit 30 patients from the family clients of Cord Blood Registry, the largest cord blood bank in the world. The autism study was inspired by previous success stories of children who received cord blood therapy for Cerebral Palsy, and showed marked improvement in their communication skills.

Read more about this study:
Press release from Sutter Neuroscience Institute
News report from the Sacramento Bee

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