You are here


Ecuadorian Boy with Cerebral Palsy Has Improved Health After Cord Blood Therapy

June 2016
El Universo


After receiving treatment with umbilical cord blood stem cells, Tomas has mostly overcome tetra spastic cerebral palsy, a condition that affects the motor skills of all four limbs. In his case it was produced by a lack of oxygen due to a malfunction of the incubator he was in after premature birth.

Fortunately for Tomas’ parents in Ecuador, they had stored his cord blood with Biocells Discoveries, a local family cord blood bank with AABB accreditation. "This decision was crucial for the life of my son," said his mother.

How it all started?

At the fifth month of pregnancy, Tomas’ mother was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia (hypertension, edema, etc.). This forced her to stay on absolute rest for the rest of the pregnancy. At week 31 the baby’s heartbeat began to decrease due to a double knot in the umbilical cord. Doctors had to mature the baby’s lungs so they could perform an emergency C-section.

After they extracted Tomas they realized that his lungs were not mature enough, so he was placed in an incubator in the NICU. In the days following after delivery the incubator holding Tomas malfunctioned, cutting the oxygen supply. The lack of oxygen supply caused tetra spastic cerebral palsy in Tomas.

The therapy

After the required tests were performed on the cryopreserved cord blood, stored at Biocells Discoveries, to show that the cells were in good condition, they were shipped to the Duke University Hospital in the United States.

Tomas was enrolled in the study of autologous cord blood for spastic cerebral palsy led by Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, a pioneer in stem cell transplantation of umbilical cord blood. Tomas participated in this study over a period of three years. Some patients in the study received their own cord blood stem cells at the beginning of the study, whereas the control group of patients received their stem cells a year later. Throughout this time all relevant evaluations were performed. The final year of the study was dedicated to follow up monitoring of all the patients in both groups.

Today Tomas has a quality of life like other children at age five. Despite the original diagnosis of spastic movement in all four limbs, Tomas can now walk and play ball games. He speaks two languages and attends school. His mother still remembers the time when doctors told her that her son would not be able to walk or talk. They basically told her that Tomas would not be able to reach the milestones that he has now accomplished.

This remarkable recovery is thanks in part to treatment with cord blood stem cells. Tomas started walking soon after the stem cells were administered and continued to improve with additional help from physical and occupational therapies. The treatment with cord blood stem cells meant a life changing event for Tomas, it meant a chance for a new life.