Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, at Duke University in North Carolina, is a leader in the cord blood field for both transplantation and regenerative medicine.
Currently, she’s investigating the effectiveness of cord blood in a variety of paediatric conditions associated with brain disorders, including cerebral palsy, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and hypoplastic left heart syndrome. This research into cord blood and autism is an exciting advancement.
Autism can now be added to the list of diseases that might be treated with cord blood. In the summer of 2014, Dr. Kurtzberg initiated a trial to investigate the safety of a single intravenous infusion of autologous (self) cord blood into children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
ASD is a neurodevelopment disorder with early onset that results in a specific set of behavioural and developmental abnormalities. Currently, treatments for patients with ASD are supportive; there is no cure for ASD.
In the clinical trial being conducted at Duke University, 20 patients will be infused with their own banked cord blood and assessed by a variety of tests at 6 and 12 months. Upon its initiation last summer, the 20 slots filled up quickly.
Data from this trial will be used to design a future Phase 2 clinical trial. It’s anticipated that families wishing to participate in such a trial will have the opportunity during the Phase 2 trial.