Cord blood stem cells being tested for potential treatment of autismhttp://www.examiner.com/article/cord-bl ... -of-autism
On Friday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced the agency had given researchers the go-ahead to launch a small study in children with autism to evaluate whether a child's own umbilical cord blood may be an effective treatment.
Thirty children with the disorder, aged 2 to 7, will receive injections of their own stem cells from umbilical cord blood banked by their parents after their births.
Scientists at Sutter Neuroscience Institute, in Sacramento, Calif., said the placebo-controlled study will help determine whether the stem cell therapy helps improve language and behavior in the youngsters.
There is anecdotal evidence that stem cell infusions may have a benefit in other conditions such as cerebral palsy, said lead study investigator Dr. Michael Chez, director of pediatric neurology at the institute.
"We're hoping we'll see in the autism population a group of patients that also responds," Chez said. Other autism and stem cell research is going on abroad, but this study is the first to use a child's own cord blood stem cells.
Chez said the study will involve only patients whose autism is not linked to a genetic syndrome or brain injury, and all of the children will eventually receive the stem cells.
Two infusions will take place during the 13-month study. At the start of the research, the children will be split into two groups, half receiving an infusion of cord blood stem cells and half receiving a placebo. At six months, the groups will swap therapies. The infusions will be conducted on an outpatient basis with close monitoring.