A promising study into cerebral palsy may pave the way to a cure for the chronic condition, experts have said.
The study, published in the journal, Stem Cells, found that patients who underwent a special treatment involving transfused umbilical cord blood cells experienced big improvements in brain and movement function.
“I think this is the most promising study we’ve ever seen in the area of stem cells,” said Associate Professor Iona Novak, the head of research at the Cerebral Palsy Alliance (formerly known as the Spastic Centre). “This is looking like a possible path to a cure.”
Cerebral palsy is a permanent physical disability caused by damage to the developing brain, either while in the womb or in early childhood. Signs and symptoms include delayed development, and impaired speech and motor skills.
In the study, a group of around 30 children received a combined treatment course of EPO, rehab and donated umbilical cord blood.
After six months, the children achieved significant higher scores in motor and cognitive skills tests than patients getting other treatments. Children younger than three made the most progress.