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Cord Blood Treatment For Cerebral Palsy


A story about a young girl with cerebral palsy in Colorado, who was treated with stem cell from her own cord blood, has been making headlines lately – with good reason. The treatments were successful.

Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, a professor of pediatrics and pathology at Duke University, was conducting a study where children with cerebral palsy were injected with their own cord blood cells.

In May of 2008, at the age of 2, Chloe Levine received a 15-minute re-infusion of her stem cells. “The doctor is really cautious about what she tells patients,” Chloe’s mom, Jenny Levine said. “She didn’t have a whole lot of results coming in. The best case scenario, we’d see signs of improvement in six months to a year.”

Dr. Charles Cox, from the University of Texas-Houston Medical School, said if the parents do not choose to save the cord blood, it is considered medical waste and thrown away.

“Really, the issue of cord blood banking today comes down to trying to understand what the future holds in terms of regenerative medicine as a field,” Cox said. “So, the long-term look is, and even the intermediate-term look is that it’s not science-fiction. I see it expanding and accelerating over the next two to five years.”
Within four days, her parents saw a noticeable difference, although Kurtzberg said most kids show benefits three to nine months later.

The rigidity on Chloe’s right side loosened up and her speech started to improve. She was able to ride her toy tractor, which in the past had been too difficult for her to pedal.

“Her life is completely normal, she doesn’t drag her right foot, she can use her right hand,” Jenny Levine said. “She rides a bike, a scooter…we’re taking her skiing this year. She’s fabulous.”

At this time, Kurtzberg said she does not know how long the effects of cord blood will last on kids like Chloe, but if there is a good chance it will be “durable and last indefinitely.” This is essential, since most babies have enough cells for only one infusion.

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