Medical Technology

Stem Cells can Treat Traumatic Brain Injury in Children

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"Stem Cells can Treat Traumatic Brain Injury in Children"
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Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is also known as intracranial (within the cranium) injury.  TBI occurs when an external force traumatically injures the brain.  TBI is one of the major causes of death and disability among children all over the world.  TBI will usually have a huge negative impact on the child's physical and cognitive abilities.  Head ache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, bad taste in the mouth, blurred vision, fatigue, confusion, lack of memory, inability to concentrate and inability to think are some common symptoms of TBI.

Stem cells are biological cells which have the potential to develop into different types of cells in the human body.  They also produce more stem cells. Embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells are two types of stem cells.  Stem cells play a major role in repairing damages caused to the human body.  

Stem cells taken from bone marrow were safely used to treat TBI in pediatric patients.  This clinical trial was conducted at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).  The results of the phase one of this trial were published in the reputed journal, Neurosurgery.  Neurosurgery is the Official Journal of The Congress of Neurological Surgeons.  

The study was conducted on 10 children (aged between 5 to 14 years) with severe TBI.  All of them were treated with their own stem cells within 48 hours from the time they were injured.  Stem cells were collected from their bone marrow, processed and administered intravenously.  After six months, all the children have shown significant improvement.  Seven of them showed "good outcome" (no or mild disability).  None of the children displayed negative side effects.  

Charles S. Cox, Jr., M.D., said, "Our data demonstrate that the acute harvest of bone marrow and infusion of bone marrow mononuclear cells to acutely treat severe TBI in children is safe.  Cox was the study's lead author.  He is professor of pediatric neurosurgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center.  Research was conducted in partnership with Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, where Cox is a director.  

Currently there is no treatment to promote brain repair.  Many children who have survived severe TBI are affected by various disabilities.  This study has brought a new hope in their lives.  It has also indicated that stem cell treatments can be safe and effective.    


More about this author: Srikanth Radhakrishna

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