Stem Cell Treatment for Autism May Open Door to a More Promising Future

May 19 2014 - 2:54pm
Autism
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It’s widely known that stem cells are used to treat and in some cases cure diseases such as Cystic Fibrosis, Nerve pain, Cardiomyopathy, Parkinson’s, Colon Cancer, etc., all with proven results. Well, how many of you know about treating autism with Mesenchymal Stem Cells and/or CD34+ cord blood cells? Surely many parents have heard of stem cell treatments being used for autism and became instantly skeptical, this author sure did. While reading testimonials from parents who had opted to use Stem Cell Treatment on their autistic children interest was definitely aroused.

Parental Claims About Autism Stem Cell Treatment

The declarations that are made by parents as to how this treatment helped their children autism, literally made my skin crawl all while giving me faint hope. There aren’t any severity lines like there are with other treatments. The claims made by parents include children that range from severely autistic [ASD level 3] all the way to the mildest forms [ASD level 1]. Given that information what parent wouldn’t be curious when you add it in with reading of the potential to greatly improve things such as their child’s:

- social skills
- sleep disturbances
- gross & fine motor skills
- auditory processing
- hyperactivity
- verbal communication issues
- violent behavior

A few parents even claimed that this treatment literally caused their nonverbal child to speak within days of the first treatment. One thing was for sure, research had to be done and I had to know more about this possibility.

How This Treatment Works

The base claim of this treatment is that once administered the umbilical stem cells travel throughout the autistic child’s body searching for damaged cells and tissue. Once the stem cells find an area of damage they attempt to repair it, leading to the results listed above.

The actual treatment involves taking donor umbilical stem cells, called Mesenchymal Stem Cells [and at times donor Cord blood cells, called CD34+] and administering them to an autistic patient. There are three different ways to administer the stem cells, they are intravenously, subcutaneously, or intrathecally. None of which sound like very fun ways to treat an autistic child. I loathe having to take my son into a facility to have an IV put in, let alone to have his skin cut open or fluid put into his spine daily for a week. Scary thoughts, but I digress.

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The typical treatment can be administered on one of these three schedules and usually takes about an hour:

Monday- Friday [One week]
-4 intravenous infusion of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells

  • Monday-Friday [One week]
  • -2 intravenous infusions of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells
  • -2 intrathecal infusions of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells

Monday-Friday [Two weeks]

  • -2 intravenous infusions of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells
  • -2 intrathecal infusions of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells
  • -1 intravenous infusion of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells
  • -1 intrathecal infusion of allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells

Apparently, distinct from other types of stem cells, with allogeneic mesenchymal stem cells there is no danger of the child’s body rejecting the stem cells given to them. This is owed to the fact that these types of cells have no antigenicity. This remarkable attribute eradicates the need to use certain drugs that suppress the immune system and can be needed with some stem cell treatments. Cord blood, or CD34+, is known to stimulate living/normal cells and tissue causing them to work at a higher level of functioning.

In Conclusion

No matter how well known or unknown, the fact is that this treatment is used worldwide. Stem Cell Treatment is being very thoroughly studied from the U.S. to China to India. It has been all the way back to 2007 or before it seems. There’s an article called Stem Cell Therapy for Autism, published 6/27/2007 in the Journal of Translational Medicine that proposed using both mensenchymal and CD34+ cells to treat autistic children. China did their own study, India currently treats autistic children with stem cell treatments, and the U.S.A. is still doing research studies as well as treatments at certain facilities. As of 2012 The Sutter Neuroscience Institute in California was recruiting for a study using autistic children with already banked cord blood instead of using donor cells.

Even given all this information it is still hard for this author to cope with how extensive the treatment can be. It seems like so much to put our children through in order to help them function. Then again, when compared to hearing your child’s first word after years of never hearing their voice or suddenly being able to sit in a room with your child without a violent outburst, possibly even when compared to suddenly gaining the ability to sleep a night without fighting your child to sleep, or even when you compare it all to your child being able to hold a pencil for the first time, or tie their own shoe, or dress themselves then all of a sudden the amount of inconvenience associated with Stem Cell Treatments and the possible pain your child may feel for a short time starts to look like it may be worth it. This may be the beginning of something very promising. It seem for now we will all just have to wait and see.

Reference: Stem Cell of America: Autism
Stem Cell Institute: Stem Cell Therapy Autism

Other Autism Related Stories by Brooke Price

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Comments

hi, Im very interested to know more about stemcells treatment for autism which could help my son.thanks looking foward to hear from you
Seriously? You think this is a lot to put a child through? I'm sorry, but my son was left profoundly disabled at 10-1/2 months after a medical incident. He has been through over 40 therapies from acupuncture, to various forms of chiropractic, HBOT, retained primitive reflex treatment, glutathione IVs. Those are a few of the therapies that have been effective. This procedure would take only a few minutes - what, once every 3 to 4 months? We are researching this right now and plan to move forward. Living a fuller life every day is SO worth the effort. Jonathan was profoundly disabled. Now he functions primarily at a 5 year old level. We hope he will make the shift into easy reading and becoming more verbal. A lot of effort? Yes. But, we would be spending a lot of effort if we had left him in a wheelchair. Now he can at least enjoy a lot of life.