Neurologists from Lublin Medical University (Poland) will treat children with brain injuries from all over Europe using cord blood stem cells. It is the second medical center in the world to use this so far experimental technology, the first being Duke University in the US.
Dr. Magdalena Khrostinska-Kravchik, MD, PhD, Dr.med.sci, from the Pediatric Neurology Clinic of the Lublin University Children’s Hospital has already performed the first manipulations on the use of cord blood and umbilical cord stem cells in the treatment of brain damage in children and autism. This treatment will now also be available to children from other European countries.
“Stem cells collected during childbirth have been used in research for several years. We use them to treat children with conditions such as autism, spina bifida, or brain damage. We have had several such cases where we used the autologous cord blood. And now we expect to help more children, because patients from all over Europe are addressing to us,” says Dr. Magdalena Khroshynska-Kravchik.
The Commission for Bioethics of the Medical University of Lublin has granted permission to the Lublin Pediatric Neurology Clinic to use stem cells for the treatment of pediatric neurological diseases. The first manipulations showed that this treatment is safe. In the future, in addition to brain damage, other neurological diseases in children, including autism and spina bifida, should also be treated.
The first transplantation of cord blood stem cells was performed in 1998 by Prof. Elian Gluckman in Paris, thus saving the life of a 5-year-old Matthew Ferrow from North Carolina suffering from Fanconi anemia. Today, Matthew Farrow is 36 years old and enjoying a fulfilling life. Since that time, cord blood stem cells have been used in the treatment of more than 80 diseases, most notably haematological, metabolic and immunological.
Professor Joan Kurtzberg of Duke University in the United States has the greatest experience in the use of cord blood stem cells in the treatment of neurological diseases. Currently, Professor Kurtzberg’s research has shown that in children with autism, cord blood improves social skills, and in patients with brain damage, motor function.
Prof. Hroszynska-Kravczyk of the University of Lublin says that the first patients, who participated in the clinical trial were not cured, but the doctors succeeded to improve their function, which is very important. Children with brain damage have increased muscle strength and improved the urine bladder function.
According to the doctor, any improvement in such children is a significant achievement and is of great importance to both young patients and their loved ones. The specialist also points out that the use of stem cells does not replace other treatments and rehabilitation.