A severely brain-injured 16-month-old boy who received three monthly injections of cord blood-derived neural cells showed “some slight improvement over a former vegetative state” after six months, according to a new study.
Researchers transplanted neurally-committed, autologous cord blood derived cells tagged with iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIO) into the lateral cerebral ventricle of the child, who had suffered a severe global hypoxic ischemic brain injury.
Through MRI tracking they found that the primary injected and tagged cells persisted in that brain hemisphere for more than four months.
“Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy remains one of the most devastating conditions in children, resulting in brain atrophy and persistent functional neurological impairment,” said Dr. Krystyna Domanska-Janik, corresponding author.
According to Domanska-Janik, they transplanted cord blood neural cells by repeated injection into lateral cerebral ventricle as the method appeared to be superior to intravascular injections because there would be a more “local modulating outcome.”
“The capacity of cells to home to damaged sites in the central nervous system is crucial,” Domanska-Janik said. “Our study found that transplantation of patient self-donor (autologous), neurally-committed cord blood cells is feasible, well tolerated, and safe.”
Once more, the transplanted cells were easily assessed by MRI for four months.
“Despite signs of neurological improvement noticed by the parents and neurologists after cell transplantation, this one case does not allow us to predict the true efficacy of such a treatment and further studies are needed,” she said.
The research team did suggest that six months after the transplantation, the child’s diagnosis of a “vegetative state” was no longer justified as the boy began responding to his mother’s voice by smiling and a 50 percent reduction in his rate of seizures was achieved.
“This first step in the use of autologous stem cells as a treatment for neonatal ischemic brain repair in the clinic provides a guardedly optimistic report for future studies,” said Dr. Paul Sanberg, executive director of the Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair at the University of South Florida. “Of course, further and more comprehensive studies, with a larger patient population, are required to confirm its potential efficacy.”
The study was published in the current issue of Cell Medicine 1(2).
Citation: “Intracerebroventricular Transplantation of Cord Blood-Derived Neural Progenitors in a Child With Severe Global Brain Ischemic Injury;” Jozwiak, S.; Habich, A.; Kotulska, K.; Sarnowska, A.; Kropiwnicki, T.; Janowski, M.; Jurkiewicz, E.; Lukomska, B.; Kmiec, T.; Walecki, J.; Roszkowski, M.; Litwin, M.; Oldak, T.; Boruczkowski, D.; Domanska-Janik, K.; Cell Medicine 1(2):71-80; 2010.
Contact: Krystyna Domanska-Janik, firstname.lastname@example.org