Umbilical cord stem cells help 3-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer

A new stem cell treatment sees toddler injected with her own umbilical cord blood cells

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A 3-year-old British girl suffering cerebral palsy seems to have responded to pioneering treatment that used her own umbilical cord cells, reports the Daily Mail.

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Sasha Browne was injected with stem cells from her umbilical cord, and mum Tania and dad Richard say Sasha’s condition has improved and she is able to walk, talk, and see better than before.

Sasha took part in the trial in the US last year to treat her cerebral palsy.  Thought to be the first British child to trial the treatment, Sasha had the stem cells injected into her bloodstream through her ankle.  Doctors hoped the cells would travel through her body to her brain and help repair the damaged tissue.

The news on the success of the trial hasn’t been without its critics as the treatment isn’t permitted in Britain and there are no clinical trials to prove stem cell therapy works.

“Each person with cerebral palsy is an individual who will respond differently to one treatment compared to another person. There are lots of therapies out there but we never endorse one over the other for that reason,” said a spokesperson from Scope, the disability charity.

Mum Tania says her gut instinct is telling her the stem cell therapy is responsible for her daughter’s improved condition, but admits she can’t prove it as her daughter also received the usual treatments for cerebral palsy, such as speech therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy.

“We feel there has been some general improvement in her motor skills and perhaps some improvement in her vision and cognitive ability,” said mum Tania.

“We can’t categorically say this is attributable to the stem cell infusion. However, we and Sasha’s therapist feel the improvement has potentially been at a faster rate than it may have occurred, or in comparison with other children with similar abilities,” added Tania.

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Shamshad Ahmed, chief executive of Smart Cells, was more optimistic of the results and said, “Sasha’s case confirms my long-held view that we do not know what these stem cells could be used for (in the future).”

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