Stem Cell Treatment May Be Effective For People With Cerebral Palsy

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Dr. Morteza Zarrabi, head of Royan Institute, said the biggest national project to treat individuals with Cerebral Palsy through injection of stems cells from umbilical cord blood into the brain will be tested in the country some time this year. The project will be implemented jointly by Royan Institute, Children’s Medical Center, and Iranian Blood Transfusion Organization. Dr. Zarrabi stated, “In the first phase, it would provide treatment to 130 children with Cerebral Palsy between the ages 5 and 13.” In September 2016, the treatment was tested in a few children with Cerebral Palsy in some hospitals, and the results were satisfactory, Dr. Zarrabi said.

There are some important questions that must be answered before stem cell treatment becomes a success in the medical field. Some of these questions include: which of the various types of stem cells would be the best to use; what is the best way in which to use these cells and how will they affect the body; should the cells be injected directly into the damaged area of the brain or into the bloodstream; and when does the treatment need to be given to achieve the best result? Zarrabi stated, “So far, 27 cord blood banks have been launched across the country. Around 75,000 samples have been stored in private banks and 5,000 in public banks.”

Cerebral Palsy is a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood. Signs and symptoms vary among people. Symptoms usually include stiff muscles, poor coordination, tremors, and weak muscles. There may be problem with hearing and vision, sensation, speaking, and swallowing. Infants with Cerebral Palsy do not roll over, sit, or walk as early as other children of their age. Difficulty with ability to think or reason and seizures occur in about one and three individuals with Cerebral Palsy.

Cerebral Palsy is caused by abnormal development or damage to the parts of the brain that control posture, movement, and balance. Most often the problems occur during pregnancy, however, they may also occur during childbirth or shortly after birth. While the cause is unknown, risk factors such as preterm birth, difficult delivery, being a twin, certain infections during pregnancy, and head trauma during the first years of life are some of the causes.

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