Should You Consider Stem Cell Therapy for Your Autistic Child?


With 1 out of every 500 children in India being diagnosed as Autistic, there is a growing need for a trustworthy and effective treatment for the same.  Autism Spectrum Disorder affects children worldwide and as a result millions of dollars are being invested in research to find a long-term solution. Studies carried out on stem cells are showing promising results, they are safe and have been seen to improve the behaviour and overall attention span of autistic individuals over a period of time.

The causes of ASD are not clearly known, they range from genetic to environmental. Certain genetic disorders like Rhett Syndrome or Fragile X Syndrome have been linked to autism, genetic mutations may affect the brain development and the way the brain cells communicate, or it could be a hereditary disorder passed down through generations. Environmental toxins or air pollutants, age of parents, conditions at the time of delivery, lack of oxygen supply may all contribute to the risk of Autis

A 2017 phase 1 trial carried out by Duke University in USA, studied the safety and efficacy of autologous cord blood derived stem cells on 25 children between the ages of 2 to 6. The study found that the cord blood stem cells were safe and showed improvements in 70% of the participants over 6 months and maintained these changes till at least 12 months after infusion.

Duke University carried out phase 2 trials with 180 participants between the ages of 2 to 7, which concluded in May 2019. The participants were given 1 infusion of cord blood stem cells, and 1 of the placebo, each 6 months apart. Slight improvements were observed in the social communications skills, motor skills and daily life quality of some of the children. However, the overall result was deemed unfavourable and the researchers at Duke University have said that further research is warranted to understand the effectiveness of cord blood stem cells in autistic individuals.

The phase 2 study at Duke infused the participants only once with cord blood derived stem cells. For stem cell therapy to be effective, the quality and quantity of stem cells is vey important. Cord Blood does not have a sufficient number of mesenchymal stem cells to produce significant results after only 1 infusion. Umbilical Cord Tissue is better source of stem cells for autism, and with increased number of infusions, at least 3 to 4, has been shown to produce positive results. The total number of stem cells should be above 2 million cells per kilogram of body weight.

Clinical trials to prove the efficacy of stem cells in the treatment of various diseases are being held all over the world. Overall, stem cell therapy remains in the experimental therapy classification. Stem cells are safe to use, and when used in the right quantity and sourced from the right tissue, they have shown positive results in autistic individuals. The future for stem cell therapy is certainly promising and as our scientific understanding deepens, more applications of these tiny ‘building blocks of life’ will surely be found. For now, we should remain optimistic and keep an open mind about new discoveries and inventions taking place in regenerative medicine. Hopefully, the time is not far away when stem cell therapy will be the conventional treatment for disorders ranging from Autism to Spinal Cord Injury.

Categorized as Blog

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2018 © MedTravellers. All rights reserved