Cerebral palsy is one of the common disabilities found among children and it is characterized by varied physical symptoms such as problem in coordination of movements and difficulty in walking, etc. Presently there is no infallible option for Cerebral Palsy Treatment, so whether Stem Cell Therapy can help in treating cerebral palsy or not is a big question. We all are aware that stem cell research have reached new heights with technological developments and that they are derived from different sources in our body. What makes them special is their ability of turning into any kind of cell. With recent advancements and explorations, researchers now know how stem cells work and how to handle them.
What results into cerebral palsy?
A number of trials testing the possibility of Cerebral Palsy Treatment with Stem Cell Therapy is underway and scientists believe that transplanting stem cells might aid in restoring functions, making life a little easier for the patients. In majority of the cases it has been found that lack of oxygen and blood supply to brain during pregnancy or at birth resulted into hypoxic-ischemic insult. This happening cause damage to oligodendrocyte cells, which wraps the neurons with white fat known as myelin. Myelin enables neurons to send electrical signs across the human body. When oligodendrocytes are damaged or die, then neurons degrade and die as well. However, if this myelin is replaced prior to the death of neurons then this can save the neurons and can minimize motor impairments.
Aim of current stem cell research for Cerebral Palsy Treatment
Presently replacement of neurons can be very challenging as wrong connections of neurons can lead to negative effects on the patients like pain. Researchers, therefore, are concentrating on finding effective methods of minimizing damage from hypoxic-ischemic insult. They are also working on techniques of replacing lost oligodendrocyte cells. The main approach of Stem Cell Therapy for Cerebral Palsy Treatment includes understanding of the injury, finding the most suitable cells that can be used in the Stem Cell Therapy, and finally choosing the safest method of delivering the cells to the correct place.
Mesenchymal cells for Cerebral Palsy Treatment
Mesenchymal cells are presently used by researchers for Cerebral Palsy Treatment and some tests have also proved that mesenchymal cells derived from umbilical cord have the ability of improving functioning of the body when injected in the brain. Until now, these cells are not able to create neurons in lab conditions, but they have provided nutritional support and structural aid to the affected or injured area.
Other cell types used
For repairing the damaged nervous tissues in cerebral palsy scientists have also used Neural Precursor Cells. These cells are extracted from a layer underlying the spinal cord or the brain. These cells can travel short distances and can help in replacing damaged cells. However, the challenge with this kind of Stem Cell Therapy for Cerebral Palsy Treatment is that extracting the cells will be pretty invasive. Researchers are also trying to find out a drug, which can trigger these cells that already exist in the nervous system to repair the damage to the tissues after the injury.
The best candidate is still believed to be induced pluripotent cells, as these cells can be extracted from the patient and does away with the risk of rejection at the same time. Scientist around the world are investigating how patient specific induced pluripotent cells can be used for Cerebral Palsy Treatment. They aim to reinstate the cells that produce myelin so that it can save the neurons from any kind of damage. With induced pluripotent cells scientists can develop safer methods of delivering the adult cells with no issue of matching the donor.