Stem Cell Treatment for Severe Traumatic Brain Injury in Children
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is the damage caused to brain due to a sudden, unexpected trauma. The cause could be a sharp object piercing the skull or hitting the head violently with an object. Victims are disabled, and suffer serious complications. According to the latest issue of Neurosurgery journal, the only safe and feasible method of treating TBI is stem cell transplantation using stem cells derived from the child’s bone marrow.
The research team at The University of Texas was headed by Dr. Charles S. Cox, Jr., who is a Professor of pediatric neurosurgery at Houston Medical School. Research included ten injured children aged between 5 and 14 years. They were treated with Bone Marrow-derived Mononuclear Cells (BMMNCs), extracted from bone-marrow of their hip bones, within two days after injury. According to some previous studies, BMMNC’s and some other stem cells were seen to have the potential to improve brain recovery after trauma in TBI patients. After the procedure, the children survived and did not show any side effects, which was concluded after assessing organs for their normal function.
Although this phase I clinical trial was conducted to study and understand stem cell transplantation safety and feasibility, the results obtained after six months of follow-up showed mild or no disability in the treated children. Even though the results are quite promising, the treated children need prolonged observation before coming to a conclusion about the effectiveness of the procedure.