Research Suggests Therapy Using Cord Blood Enriched with Stem-Cells Could Benefit Children With Autism | Natera Blog
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Research Suggests Therapy Using Cord Blood Enriched with Stem-Cells Could Benefit Children With Autism

Research Suggests Therapy Using Cord Blood Enriched with Stem-Cells Could Benefit Children With Autism

Research Suggests Therapy Using Cord Blood Enriched with Stem-Cells Could Benefit Children With Autism

Research Suggests Therapy Using Cord Blood Enriched with Stem-Cells Could Benefit Children With Autism

The year 2017 was an important one for research about the potential treatment applications for umbilical cord blood and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Researchers at Duke University Medical Center found that infusions of stem cell-enriched cord blood could benefit children with autism.1 Behavioral improvements were noted in the first six months post-infusion and were sustained at 12 months. 1
ASD is characterized by marked difficulties in behavior, social interaction, communication, and sensory sensitivities. 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with autism, and many children show signs of ASD by 12-18 months of age or earlier2,3. Some researchers hypothesize that umbilical cord blood-derived cell therapies could have potential in alleviating ASD symptoms by controlling inflammatory processes in the brain.4

The Results

The Duke study showed that it was safe and feasible for young children with autism to receive an infusion of their own cord blood stem cells that had been cryopreserved at birth. The study revealed a number of encouraging outcomes. Those include the following:1

  • Significant improvements in children's behavior were observed on parent-report measures of social communication skills and autism symptoms
  • Physicians reported improvement of autism symptom severity, including:
    • standardized measures of expressive vocabulary
    • objective eye-tracking measures of children's attention to social stimuli
      Buoyed by the results of the trial, a Phase II, randomized, double-blind study to evaluate efficacy is already underway and is expected to complete by mid to late 2018.

The Participants and the Procedure

Of the 25 participants, 21 were male and four were female, with an average age of 4.6 years. All had previously cryopreserved their cord blood stem cells at birth. There were no known genetic abnormalities in any of the participants. For the procedure, participants were infused with their own umbilical cord blood stem cells. It was found that the treatment was both safe and well tolerated.

Cord blood banking

Cord blood-derived therapies have helped treat nearly 80 diseases, which include certain types of cancers, blood and metabolic disorders. Currently over 1 million children have had their cord blood stem cells cryopreserved in private cord blood banks.

Banking with Evercord

Evercord, as an FDA-licensed facility and with over 20 years of experience, provides state-of-the-art cord banking facilities and also serves as a trusted lab partner through pregnancy, delivery and beyond.

  1. Dawson G, Sun JM, Davlantis KS, Murias M, Franz L, Troy J, Simmons R, Sabatos-DeVito M, Durham R, and Kurtzberg J. Autologous cord blood infusions are safe and feasible in young children with autism spectrum disorder: results of a single-center phase I open-label trial. Stem Cells Translational Med 2017 doi:10.1002/sctm.16-0474.
  2. Johnson, C. P., & Myers, S. M.; American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Children with Disabilities. (2007). Identification and evaluation of children with autism spectrum disorders. Pediatrics, 120(5), 1183-1215. [top]
  3. Lord, 1995; Stone, 1999; & Charman, 1997. As cited in: Filipek, P. A., Accardo, P. J., Ashwal, S., Baranek, G. T., Cook, E. H. Jr., Dawson, G., et al. (2000). Practice parameter: Screening and diagnosis of autism. Report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology and the Child Neurology Society. Neurology, 55, 468-479. [top]
  4. Moise KJ. Umbilical cord stem cells. Obstetrics & Gynecology.2005;106(6):1393-1407.

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