Autism Treated With Stem Cells

Researchers at Duke University have utilized autologous (the patient’s own) stem cell infusions to promote increased connectivity in the brain that allowed for improved communication and language abilities in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The stem cells used in the trial were the patients’ own cord blood stem cells, which were banked at birth and played a key role in alleviating the symptoms of ASD in these patients. The Phase I Clinical Trial utilized the autologous stem cells in i.v. infusions that were meant to deliver the cells to the white matter, which is one of the brain tissues that differs developmentally between individuals with and without ASD. Additionally, the study targeted the neuroinflammation present in individuals with ASD.

In 6 and 12-month follow-ups, patients demonstrated significant increases in neural connectivity, leading to improvement in expressive language skills and socialization. The parents who banked their children’s stem cells at birth had the foresight to store biological insurance in the form of cord blood, since they could not anticipate what their children may need them for in the future. The study, and the general trend of regenerative medicine, highlights the pertinence of banking stem cells. For those families that may have missed the opportunity to bank cord blood at birth, dental stem cell banking provides families a second opportunity to recover and bank their children’s stem cells so that they may have access to future groundbreaking stem cell applications.

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