Cerebral palsy (CP) is an irreversible condition that affects children as well as their families. Though the condition is life-long, it is considered non-progressive. There are several potential causes of this condition, such as genetic factors, infection in the pregnant mother or fetus, underlying conditions in the fetus that may strain the birthing process, etc. It is considered to be a disorder of abnormalities in cognitive function and motor skills. No treatments have been found for CP, although some functional, nutritional supportive care, counseling, and social measures can be taken.

As stated earlier, cerebral palsy is a condition that results in a permanent motor disability. Most times, the cause of CP can be traced to several issues in the brain during the development period of a child. Some children could also develop CP during pregnancy or childbirth due to a lack of oxygen, traumatic injury, infectious disorder, genetic condition or developmental abnormalities. The causes can be numerous if an injury to the brain occurred at different times of gestation. This makes the assessment and assigning of the right treatment for this condition very difficult.

How can Stem Cells Treat Cerebral Palsy?
Stem cells can be used as a therapy for CP, particularly the ones derived from umbilical cord tissues. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is what solely regulates the human brain. It is known as a semipermeable membrane; an organ in the brain that separates blood from cerebrospinal fluid. A few types of cells, molecules, and particles get into the brain through the mechanism of the BBB. These stem cells derived from umbilical cord tissues are special, and the reasons are listed below:

1. They can go across endothelial brain barrier
2. Interaction with and alerting neighboring cells (Paracrine Effect)
3. They trigger self-repair on existing cells
4. In a way, they regulate the immune system (Immunomodulation), thereby averting rejection
5. They reduce the possibility of inflammation
6. They transform into neurons and glia
7. Improvement in the formation of nerve cell axons (axogenesis)

Stem Cell Therapy and Cerebral Palsy
Seven transfusions of these umbilical cord tissue stem cells were administered to a girl who suffered from cerebral palsy by a collaborative study between Chinese and American universities for six months in 2013. At the end of 28 months of monitoring her, it was observed that she encountered a few incidents of ambulatory tumbles and could sit upright by herself. Also, there was an improvement in her immune system.
It was reported in the year 2018 by the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences that a 4-year-old boy with cerebral palsy was administered three doses of umbilical cord tissue stem cells. At the end of this treatment, brain improvement was observed through electroencephalogram (EEG) imaging, as well as improvements in limb motor strength, motor function, and language expression.

Cerebral palsy, as stated earlier, is a condition that majorly affects children during their developmental period. It is known to be a permanent condition that can be managed through certain medications and physical therapies. However, stem cells offer an exciting opportunity to actually treat the cause of cerebral palsy, thereby improving the condition rather than simply managing symptoms.

References: Cerebral palsy and stem cell treatments

Can child

International journal of stem cells

Stem cell treatment now

Birth injury guide

Kids health


Cerebral palsy guide

Cerebral palsy news today

Author's Bio: 

Beike Biotechnology.
Since 2005, Beike has been focusing on providing treatment protocols that not only include multiple stem cell injections but also extensive rehabilitation programs in order to provide real chances of improvement for patients diagnosed with various neurological and neuro-muscular conditions, as well as for auto-immune diseases and more.