University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston along with Georgia Regents University has partnered with the Cord Blood Registry® to spur on new stem cell research in newborns. The project, which is focused on establishing FDA-regulated clinical trials to investigate the use of an intravenous infusion of a child’s own cord blood cells that were banked at the time of their birth in the treatments of disease, is part of a larger effort that is being highlighted by Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, celebrated throughout March and supported by the federal Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
While Cerebral Palsy is sometimes regarded as a rare disease, it in fact affects a larger percentage of the population than meets the eye. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly 1 in every 323 children in the United States has cerebral palsy. The number may appear high due to the fact that CP is not simply one disease, but rather a group of disorders that affects an individual’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. While there are different caused for the onset of the disease, primarily it is brought on by brain damage or abnormal neurological development.
The disease has no cure, however, doctors have at their disposal several treatment options, which include surgery, medications, orthopedic braces, and physical, occupational and speech therapies. Researchers are now looking to leverage the use of umbilical cord blood and stem cell therapy as part of the regimen of treatments, as it is believed that it can foster healing to damaged or diseased tissue or organs affected by Cerebral Palsy. This is precisely what the Cord Blood Registry hopes to develop, along with its research partners.
Heather Brown, Vice President of Scientific & Medical Affairs at Cord Blood Registry, explained that, “Despite remarkable medical advances, the incidence and prevalence of cerebral palsy has increased over time. CBR is the only newborn stem cell bank connecting client families to more potential treatments through FDA-regulated clinical trials. Cord Blood Registry’s collaborations with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Georgia Regents University are a strong demonstration of our commitment to expanding the potential scope of newborn stem cell therapies that may be available to patients and their families.”