Thursday, June 11, 2009
Stem cell therapy for cerebral palsy: Max might get it!
After hearing from Kate (THANK YOU, KATE!) that Duke University has a stem-cell injection clinical trial, I got in touch with them. Today, I learned that they would be willing to consider Max as a candidate.
Back when I was pregnant, my lovable worrywort of a friend, Wendy, told me she'd done cord-blood banking for her baby. I figured if Wendy did it, I should, as I am also a worrywort (and just as lovable, I hope). So I signed up with Cryo-cell, one of a handful of cord-blood banks out there. There was an initial fee (can't recall how much); storage costs us $95 a year per kid (we did it for Sabrina, too).
I never imagined that we might actually need the cord blood. Never imagined that my baby could have a stroke at birth. Yet that's what happened, and I have a beautiful little boy with cerebral palsy. There are no miracle cures, but there is this possibility.
In a nutshell, Duke isn't sure cord blood is helping out kids with CP but, based on work they've done in general with genetic diseases of the brain and also animal studies, they believe it can help. The injections of cord blood are not risky, and while Max might not like getting an IV, he will deal. I've been Googling around, and it seems that some kids with CP who've gotten the cord blood injections have shown improvement.
I plan to run all of this by our pediatric neurologist. To me, this seems to fall into the camp of treatments that can't hurt and might help, and Dave and I fall firmly in that camp. Here's an article from Duke on what they've been doing.
The next steps are to get a copy of the report on Max's cord blood from Cryo-cell for Duke to review, to make sure there are enough cells and that the unit was frozen properly. If this works out, we'll have Max's blood drawn to make sure it matches up well with the banked cord blood. Then that would get shipped to Duke, and then we'll have to ship ourselves to Duke.
My deepest wish is that a stem-cell infusion could help bring along Max's speech. Although if it could also enable him to better use his hands then, well....
I don't want to fantasize too much here. Who knows, for one reason or another, Max may not be a candidate for an injection.
But, heck, I am going off to sleep now and letting myself dream.
Photo by nushuz