AUGUSTA, Ga. – Medical College of Georgia researchers are conducting the first FDA-approved clinical trial to determine whether an infusion of stem cells from umbilical cord blood can improve the quality of life for children with cerebral palsy.
The study will include 40 children age 2-12 whose parents have stored cord blood at the Cord Blood Registry in Tucson, Ariz.
Umbilical cord blood is rich in stem cells, which can divide and morph into different types of cells throughout the body, said Dr. James Carroll, professor and chief of pediatric neurology in MCG School of Medicine and principal investigator on the study.
Cerebral palsy, caused by a brain injury or lack of oxygen in the brain before birth or during the first few years of life, can impair movement, learning, hearing, vision and cognitive skills. Two to 3 children in 1,000 are affected by it, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Animal studies indicate that infused stem cells help injured brain cells recover and replace brain cells that have died, Dr. Carroll said.