Child Tests Stem Cells to Treat Cerebral Palsy

An 11-year old cerebral palsy patient is participating in a promising new stem cell treatment for his condition.

Cerebral palsy is a birth injury disorder caused by damage to the movement areas of the brain. It affects approximately one in 303 eight year-old children in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

During his delivery, Michigan child Andrew Kijek suffered oxygen deprivation. At age 1, he was diagnosed with spastic cerebral palsy, and he can’t walk, talk, or control his muscles. Now, as The Detroit News reports, he’ll be the second Michigan child to participate in a new cord blood stem cell treatment.

Andrew’s parents want a “miracle” for their child. “He's already perfect,” said his mother Maureen Kijek. “We just want him to be happy.”

The trial requires he be injected with his own (already banked) umbilical cord blood. Andrew’s mother is among the 5 percent of pregnant women who save their child’s umbilical cord blood, notes the article.

Some background: Umbilical cord blood contains a set of unique immune cells called “regulatory T-cells,” in addition to stem cells. The stem cells can to grow into any of the body’s 200-plus cell types. Because of its unique properties, cord blood is harvested immediately after birth, and then cryogenically frozen for medical use.

This is the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved test of cord blood stem cells for cerebral palsy treatment. The first Michigan child to participate in the trial was a 3-year-old girl with spastic cerebral palsy, notes the News article. She completed the trial treatments one year ago, and her mother reports improvement in her daughter's speech and leg movements. “Her vocabulary has increased, the clarity of her words, pretty much everything has improved," the girl's mother said. 

Cerebral palsy is sometimes caused by improper medical care or negligence. Do you or a loved one have a child who was born with cerebral palsy? Is the condition attributable to medical error? Then contact a birth injury attorney at Sokolove Law today to learn more about your legal options.

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