Cerebral palsy refers to a group of non-progressive, non-contagious conditions which cause physical disability and applies to the cerebrum in the brain and the disorder of movement.
The brain damage normally doesn’t worsen, but secondary diseases are very common. Most notable are various orthopedic difficulties and motor disorders, arthritis and osteoporosis.
Cerebral palsy cannot be cured. Standard treatments include drugs, mechanical aids, physical therapy, behavioral therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. All these approaches are focused at helping the patient overcome developmental disabilities or learn new ways to accomplish difficult tasks.
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The A1 Cerebral Palsy Stem Cell Treatment
The cerebral palsy treatment differs from standard methods because it attacks the root cause of CP inside the brain. Stem cell therapy is a drug-free alternative focused on affecting physical changes in the brain that can improve a child’s quality of life.
Almost 70% of the cerebral palsy patients treated with stem cells show improvement.
Cerebral palsy patients are treated by injecting the stem cells by lumbar puncture and/ or into the bloodstream intravenously. Mannitol is administered to open the blood-brain barrier, allowing the stem cells to reach the central nervous system.
Lumbar puncture or IV-Mannitol is an outpatient procedure that requires patients to stay 4 or 5 nights.
Diagnostics, Physical and Cognitive Assessment
Before stem cell implantation, each patient undergoes blood tests at the clinic and a comprehensive physical and cognitive assessment. Baseline scores are calculated for Bernsden Standard Basic Functions, Barthel Index, Fruhreha Index and Modified Asworth Scale.
Step 1 – Bone Marrow Collection
After anesthesia counseling on the first day, the bone marrow is collected on the second day from the patient’s iliac crest (hip bone) using thin-needle mini-puncture under local anesthesia. Although some pain is felt when the needle is inserted, most patients do not find the bone marrow collection procedure particularly painful. The entire procedure normally takes about 30 minutes.
Because the bone marrow collection procedure requires patients to lie still, it is performed under general anesthesia.
Once the bone marrow collection is complete, patients may return to their hotel and go about normal activities. Patients who receive general anesthesia must lie down for a short recovery period before returning to their hotel.
More detailed information on the bone marrow collection procedure is available in the Bone Marrow Informed Consent document (PDF file).
Step 2 – Laboratory Processing
The stem cells are processed from the bone marrow in a state-of-the-art, government approved (cGMP) laboratory. In the lab, both the quantity and quality of the stem cells are measured. These cells have the potential to transform into multiple types of cells and are capable of regenerating or repairing damaged tissue.
Step 3 – Stem Cell Implantation
The stem cells are implanted back into the patient by intravenous administration (IV) with Mannitol or lumbar puncture.
A venous catheter is inserted into a vein in the right or left arm. Then the Mannitol is introduced over a 20 minute period. Mannitol is a safe, well-known drug that is used to open the blood-brain barrier in order to allow the passage of stem cells and other neurotropic factors into the brain and spinal canal. Next, the stem cells are slowly introduced into the catheter to allow them to thoroughly mix with the blood as they enter the body. No anesthesia is required for this procedure. However, anesthesia can be administered if necessary.
More detailed information on the IV-Mannitol procedure is available in the IV-Mannitol Informed Consent Document (PDF File).
A lumbar puncture is a puncture of the spinal canal using a fine needle, beveled at the front, in the lumbar region (lowest vertebrae of the back) of the spinal column for extracting spinal fluid (nerve or cerebral fluid). Lumbar punctures are primarily performed to diagnose for instance inflammatory disorders of the nervous system such as meningitis or multiple sclerosis. The extracted fluid, which is usually clear like water, in such cases is then examined in various ways in the laboratory.
During the LP for the stem cell therapy a volume of spinal fluid is extracted that is equivalent to the volume of your own stem cells intended for transplantation, so as little pressure difference as possible occurs in your spinal fluid space.
Changes in the pressure of the spinal fluid can cause headache. This pain is not dangerous and rarely lasts longer than 1 – 2 days, but the pain can be uncomfortable especially when getting up from a horizontal position due to the changing pressure ratios.
More detailed information on the LP procedure is available in the LP Informed Consent Document (PDF File).
Patients treated by IV-Mannitol may return home the day after IV treatment.
Cerebral Palsy Stem Cell Treatment Results
116 patients (more than 90 %) returned the completed evaluation form. Clinical improvements (Figure 1) were reported in most patients (66.4%).
Improvements mainly included increased motor functioning with decreased spasticity, resulting in improved sitting, standing, walking and posture stability as well as an improvement in mental functions resulting in better communication.
Improvement of speech was mentioned by 28 patients. A major reduction or even absence of epileptic seizures during the recorded post-treatment period was reported by 11 responders.
More than 90% of all the improvements started within 8 weeks after the application of Autologous Stem Cells.
Click to view or print complete Cerebral Palsy treatment results, including graphs (pdf)
Read what our patients have to say about their treatment:
Jona Ghelli, 16 years old, Cerebral Palsy and Microcephaly
“We’re definitely going to be going back again.”
Harrison Spiers and Dominic King, Cerebral Palsy
“…Life is easier for him now…”
Nicholas Schilling, 5 years old, Periventricular Leucomalacia
“…he is now training to stand with support…”
Treatment Evaluation Process
In order to be evaluated for treatment, patients must complete an online medical history form. Once you’ve completed the online medical history and submitted it, a patient relations consultant will contact you. He or she will assist you with the rest of the evaluation process. Upon treatment approval, your consultant will also assist you with treatment scheduling and trip preparation.