Well it appears as though there have been developments in the use of cord blood to treat cerebral palsy, or CP. Since January 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved 2 different clinical trials to investigate the effect of cord blood in patients with CP. CP is a disorder that affects a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. It is most often caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain, usually before or during birth, that results in damage to the portion of the brain that controls muscle tone.
Pioneering work treating CP patients with their own cord blood was conducted at Duke University by Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg. Results from this early study suggested that cord blood therapy improved the condition of patients with CP. The FDA has recently approved Dr. Kurtzberg’s second CP clinical trial, which is designed to provide objective data on the effect of cord blood on the clinical outcome of the CP patients. Patients in this study will be between the ages of 1 and 6 years, with spastic CP. They will be children whose parents elected to bank their children’s cord blood at delivery.
Another CP trial is being conducted at the Medical College of Georgia, by Dr. James Carroll. The purpose of this study is similar to Dr. Kurtzberg’s first trial, to test the safety and effectiveness of a cord blood infusion in children with CP. Again, patients in this study will be children whose parents banked their children’s cord blood.
The clinical trials being conducted at Duke and the Medical College of Georgia will involve 120 and 40 patients, respectively. Both trials are projected to be complete in 2013. Success in these trials would offer hope to patients suffering from CP, a currently incurable disorder.