New clinical trial in Texas is underway: It is the first FDA-approved study of treatment for cerebral palsy using stem cells taken from a child’s bone marrow

A little boy from Atlanta, Georgia is part of the first group of children enrolled in a brand new clinical trial for cerebral palsy treatment.  John Drambel, age 9, traveled to Houston last week to get ready for the trial, which is taking place at the University of Texas Health Science Center.

We recently wrote about research being conducted that looks at the effectiveness of umbilical cord stem cell blood for treatment of cerebral palsy.  Only two universities in the U.S. are involved in this FDA-approved research.

The FDA-approved study at the University of Texas will assess the safety and effectiveness of cerebral palsy treatment that utilizes stem cells taken from bone marrow blood in a child’s hip bone.  The study compares the banked stem cell cord blood to bone marrow stem cells for cerebral palsy treatment.  It is based on prior research on traumatic brain injury (TBI) in children and adults.

Thirty children who are between the ages of 2 and 10 who have cerebral palsy are participating in the study.  Fifteen of the children had their cord blood banked at a cord blood registry soon after birth, and 15 of the children did not have their cord blood banked.  Five kids in each group will be randomized to a placebo control group, meaning they receive neither cord blood nor stem cell blood.  After the study, all 30 children will have follow-up visits at 6, 12 and 24 months.  Parents will not be told whether their child received stem cells or a placebo until the follow up exam at the 12 month mark.  At this time, parents whose children received the placebo may elect to have their child undergo cord blood stem cell treatment or bone marrow stem cell treatment.

John Drambel has quadripledic cerebral palsy and requires care 24 hours a day.  He is unable to dress himself or use the bathroom, and he communicates using a device on his wheelchair.  One reason this study in Houston is so important to the Drambel family is because they did not save and bank John’s cord blood when he was born.  In fact, only 2% of babies have their cord blood placed in banks.  The therapy that uses stem cells from bone marrow can be available to all people who have cerebral palsy.  The researchers hope to see long term improvement in those who have undergone treatment with bone marrow stem cells.


Cerebral palsy is a lifelong health problem caused by injury to the baby’s brain during pregnancy, delivery, or the immediate postnatal period.  Cerebral palsy is a group of disorders that affects the ability to move and maintain balance and posture.  In addition to affecting brain and nervous system functions that control movement, it can also affect thinking, hearing, seeing and learning.  Animal models are proving that stem cells have the incredible ability to restore damaged tissues and organs to a healthy state, with very few side effects.

To learn more about the three FDA-approved research trials for stem cell therapy in children with cerebral palsy, visit the website.  For more information about the University of Houston bone marrow stem cell research project, call 855-566-6273.


Reiter & Walsh, PC - Rebecca Walsh, ScreenshotThere are many different injuries to a baby’s brain that can cause cerebral palsy.  Oxygen deprivation, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), brain bleeds, infections in the mother that cause infection in the baby’s brain during or after birth (chorioamnionitis, group B strep, urinary tract infections, bacterial vaginosis, herpes simplex virus), meningitis and kernicterus all can cause cerebral palsy.  If you believe that your child’s cerebral palsy was due to a medical error, you should also seek the assistance of an experienced birth injury attorney who focuses exclusively on birth injury cases.

Cerebral palsy is a difficult area of law to pursue due to the complex nature of the disorder and the medical records that support it.  Award-winning attorney Jesse Reiter has been focusing exclusively on birth injury cases for over 25 years.  To find out if you have a case, contact the nationally recognized firm of Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers to speak with an experienced cerebral palsy attorney.  We handle cases in Michigan, Ohio, Washington, D.C. and throughout the nation.  We have numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements that attest to our success, and no fees are ever paid to our firm until we win your case.  Email or call us at 888-419-2229.

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