Is stem cell treatment the cure to cerebral palsy we’ve all been waiting for? EnabledKids.ca takes a closer look at this hot topic.

I know that I am touching very “hot” topic:  stem cell treatment which is advertised everywhere and has been discussed in almost every corridor in clinics and hospitals. According to some online ads, stem cell treatment is a “revolutionary breakthrough” in the treatment of cerebral palsy.

I’ve been asked a lot of questions about this treatment, so I have decided to discuss it in this blog.

Stem cell treatment is an experimental treatment that is still in the research stage. Even though the treatment is performed in such countries as German, China, Israel, and in research trials in Canada, the effects of the treatment and its long-term side effects are not fully known.

In some cases it helps, in other – it does not.

The logic under the treatment goes as follows: stem cells are extracted from patients’ bone marrow, cultivated in the laboratory and injected back into the body of the patient. These new cells have ability to rebuild damaged organs or neurological pathways. According to the Cell Center in Germany (http://www.xcell-center.com ), this is a surgical procedure. Therefore the claim that this is a “non – invasive type of therapy” does not apply.

Usually the signs of improvement become evident within three to six months after the procedure. In some cases, according to some patients’ accounts, the improvement can be seen almost right away.

Personally I have seen children and adults after they’ve been through stem cell treatment. Please do not get me wrong, I do not want to sound like a skeptic – actually, I am praying for the success of this research – but these patients emerged from stem cell treatment in the same condition as they were before the procedure.

If you have had a different experience with stem cell treatment, I invite you to share this information. The more we know about this treatment, the better we can make decisions that will benefit our children.

At this point, the question we really need to consider is: does stem cell treatment cure and resolve the functional limitations of the patient?

I would say that it definitely does not. In best case scenarios, stem cell treatment can rebuild neurological pathways, but it will not teach your child how to roll, crawl, sit, stand and walk, as well as how to talk and socialize.

To make the story short, it will not teach your child to become INDEPENDENT in every aspect of his of her life. This procedure as any other does not replace the need to teach your child the everyday functions necessary to lead an independent life.  As parents and therapists, we will continue to have this responsibility.

Natan

About the author

Natan Gendelman has written 274 articles for Enabled Kids.

Natan Gendelman is licensed as a physical therapist in Russia and Israel. After moving to Canada, he was certified as a kinesiologist and osteopathy manual practitioner. Natan has more than 20 years of experience providing rehabilitation and treatment for conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, pediatric stroke and acquired brain injury. He is the founder and director of Health in Motion Rehabilitation, a Toronto-based clinic whose main objective is to teach their patients the independence necessary for success in their daily lives.

4 thoughts on “Is stem cell treatment the cure to cerebral palsy we’ve all been waiting for? EnabledKids.ca takes a closer look at this hot topic.

  1. My Daughter was Just diagnose cerebral palsy due to premature child birth she is 2 years old. Please give us more information regarding stem cell therapy and how and where to approach for its treatment and what is the approx.cost

    • Thank you for your comment Darnell. Unfortunately, we are not up to date on all of the current available stem cell therapies out there right now. You will need to conduct your own research to determine what is best for your child. We would advise to look at a variety of different therapy options besides just stem cell therapy. Stem cell therapy is still very experimental and so we advise being cautious and doing a lot of research before choosing this as your first option.

  2. pls give us more information regarding stem cell therapy and how and where to approach for its treatment and what is the approx.cost

    • Hi Arwa,

      Unfortunately for those questions you will likely need to conduct your own research as well as ask the centres themselves for more information. Best of luck.

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