Cell transplantation is a promising new avenue for treating cerebral palsy (CP). Previous research has shown that stem cell therapy can help children with cerebral palsy; a study published this month indicates that treatment with macrophages may also be effective. Essentially, macrophages are cells that can repair damaged brain tissue and blood vessels, thereby enhancing neurological functions such as motor control and cognition. Cerebral palsy is primarily defined as a motor disability, but many children with CP also have cognitive impairments. Treatment with macrophages may be able to improve both issues.
New Cerebral Palsy Research from the Journal of Neurorestoratology
Elena Chernykh and colleagues in Novosibirsk, Russia treated 57 children with intrathecal administration of autologous M2 macrophages. They used M2 macrophages specifically because of their high regenerative potential and anti-inflammatory activity. The children all had severe cerebral palsy; many of their cases were caused by hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) or intracranial hemorrhage around the time of birth. Chernykh et al. assessed the safety of this treatment, as well as changes in neurological function, as measured by the Gross Motor Function Measure test, Peabody Developmental Motor Scale-Fine Motor test, Ashworth scale, Medical Research Council scale, and a questionnaire used to evaluate cognitive abilities. They examined each child three months after the treatment, and did further monitoring up to five years.
Results: Improvements in Motor and Cognitive Function
After three months, the children showed “remarkable improvement.” This included increased gross and fine motor skills, increased strength, and decreased spasticity. The benefits were not restricted to motor function; the treatment also influenced cognition. Some of the children (16/42) understood or improved their understanding of speech, and 12 of 51 had “the appearance of a meaning-bearing speech.” 38 of 42 showed decreased aggression, and 34 of 52 improved their contact with outsiders. Moreover, 29 children had previously experienced seizures; seizure activity ceased for 10 of those children and decreased for another 14.
The Bottom Line
These findings are quite impressive, especially because improvements in motor function and mental abilities did not decrease over the duration of the study.
One patient’s atopic dermatitis (also known as eczema) worsened after treatment, but besides that, there were no serious side effects. In their five-year follow-up, the authors found that none of the children experienced neurological decline, increased seizure activity, or tumor development. More research is certainly needed, and this should not be viewed as a cure. However, this study indicates that M2 macrophage transplantation may be a safe and effective treatment for cerebral palsy.
Legal Help for Cerebral Palsy Caused By Birth Injuries
If your child has cerebral palsy and you believe it may have resulted from medical malpractice around the time of their delivery, the birth injury attorneys at Reiter & Walsh ABC Law Centers may be able to help. To find out if you have a case, contact our firm for a free evaluation. We have numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements that attest to our success, and you pay nothing unless we win your case.
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Other Blog Posts on Recent Research
- Large Head Circumference At Birth Increases Risk Of White Matter Damage And Cerebral Palsy
- Rhythmic Auditory Cueing May Improve Gait In People With Cerebral Palsy
- Research Update: Apgar Scores Can Predict The Risk Of Cerebral Palsy And Epilepsy