The cord blood unit that was released was for a little 3-year old boy who was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy (CP) and was accepted onto a clinical trial at Duke University in the States.
Upon the diagnosis, the family explored a number of different treatment options and having banked their son’s umbilical cord blood at birth as a form of medical insurance, looked into whether cord blood was being used for any neurological disorders.
They were encouraged to come across a number of clinical trials taking place whereby autologous cord blood was being used to improve function in children with CP.
The family investigated a number of clinical trials and applied for acceptance into a few of them. Fortunately, their son met the requirements/acceptance criteria for the clinical trial taking place at Duke University, North Carolina, USA . The actual trial programme had finished recruiting but they were happy to conduct the transfusion privately.
Upon acceptance, all the necessary arrangements were made for the family to travel to the States and the cord blood unit banked at Netcells was shipped to the USA in a special cryogenic shipper.
The family could not believe the amount of support they received every step of the way and described the team at Duke to be extremely passionate about the work they do- they said Dr Kurtzberg and the nurses where somewhat ‘angelical’.
During the infusion of the cord blood, the child has to be awake but the parents mentioned that the environment at Duke is extremely calming- they have a therapy singer that plays beautiful children’s songs throughout the infusion and the little boy still remembers the happy memory.
Prior to the infusion, the little boy was not fully walking, “he could walk unassisted, but he had bad days and good days, some days he needed a hand to move around, some others he would just crawl, others he could walk, so it was very unstable… right after the procedure we went to Mexico to visit my family and for the first time he just walked down two small steps with such an ease! It was the first thing we saw, since then we haven’t stopped seeing improvements… it’s not like a miraculous thing that you just see in front of your eyes, but if you stopped and remember how he was 2 years ago, you wouldn’t just believe he is so independent now.”
The family have seen incredible improvements since the infusion and believe that his progress is stable- they have also continued with a number of additional therapies such as MAES therapy, swimming, OT, Physio, Botox, equinotherapy etc
Duke University have recently launched a sibling cord blood clinical trial for CP and they are hoping they will be accepted into the programme and can use the sisters stem cells to do another transplant.