New hope for children with brain injuries

By Dr. Michelle Mason 6 years agoNo Comments
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A 2 year old San Diego girl with cerebral palsy is walking after a stem cell infusion of her own cord blood. She suffered a stroke while in her mother’s womb, which was fortunately detected before her birth. Her parents were advised by their doctor to store her stem cells because of a promising clinical trial at Duke University to treat children with cerebral palsy. Although the trial is already closed, she was taken on as a paying patient.

Just 3 weeks after her infusion she took her first steps and no longer needs her eye surgery initially recommended by doctors. The entire left side of her body was affected with her left hand permanently in a fist, today she can feed herself.

Dr Joanne Kurtzberg at Duke University explains that cord blood stem cells appear to travel to the brain to repair damaged areas via various mechanisms.

While normal development and physical therapy can’t be overlooked as reasons for improvement, her parents are convinced that the cord blood infusion sparked her major improvement that allows her not only to walk but dance around like normal little girls of her age.

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 Dr. Michelle Mason

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Clinical Manager | MBBCh (Wits). Michelle Mason graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand 1997 with a Bachelor in Medicine and Surgery (MBBCH Wits). After graduation, Michelle worked in the departments of Paediatrics, Cardio-thoracics, Respiratory and Intensive care. Her special interest in haematology lead to a year in the haematology department at the Johannesburg General hospital. Michelle enjoyed a career as a general practitioner for 12 years but her interest in haematology led her to Next Biosciences where she is responsible for the umbilical cord blood and tissue service. Michelle also volunteers at Strathyre Girls Home (Salvation Army Children’s Home). She runs a free clinic for 45 girls aged 3-18 and the staff members at the home. She is also Chairperson of their Advisory Board and is involved in various fundraising and upliftment projects at the home as well as a Tertiary Education Fund at the Salvation Army.

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