ScienceStem Cell Therapy Offers a New Hope to Repair...

Stem Cell Therapy Offers a New Hope to Repair Brain Damage in Newborns


After Tom (not his name) arrived within a couple of hours, the baby began to feel anxious and refused to breastfeed. His mother noticed that his left leg and arm were shaking rhythmically, indicating something wasn’t right.

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Tom was immediately taken into the intensive neonatal care unit. An MRI scan showed that he’d suffered an acute stroke. The doctors told Tom’s parents there was no treatment that they could provide to the child. The child would likely be disabled.

Most people view stroke as a condition that primarily affects people over 65, but it is also a possibility for newborn infants. The “perinatal strokes” happen when one of the main blood vessels in the brain gets blocked, which results in the absence of blood supply and oxygen to specific brain regions. Around one in 5,000 newborns suffers from a stroke. It is most often experienced within the initial few days following the birth.
A majority of newborns will suffer from problems later on in their lives depending on how severe the issues depend on the damaged brain regions. The causes of these problems include muscles that are tight in the legs and arms (cerebral palsy) and behaviour issues, learning problems and epilepsy.
There is no treatment for infants who suffer from stroke. Researchers, including our team from University Medical Center Utrecht, have worked on innovative therapies involving stem cells.

Stem cells can transform into various cells throughout the body. They function as small factories for various growth factors (proteins that promote the growth of specific tissues). The idea is that if we transplant stem cells into the damaged region of a newborn’s brain, the cell’s growth hormones encourage the brain to heal itself.
The effectiveness of the treatment in animals. Previous studies in animals demonstrated how injecting stem cells into the brains of mice born suffering from stroke significantly decreased damage to their brains and disabilities. The tests proved that the treatment was non-toxic and didn’t cause adverse side effects in the mice. These animal studies have given us optimism that the treatment will be effective in infants, as well, and prevent the possibility of a lifetime of disabilities.

How do you get stem cells into a baby’s brain without the need for needles or surgical procedures? We decided to test the mice’s intranasal method (through the nostril). After introducing the stem cells intra-assay, the cells moved quickly and precisely to the damaged brain regions. The injured brain emits “alarm signals” that guide the stem cells to the appropriate location within the brain.

When the stem cells were in the area of damage, they released growth factors that helped boost the healing systems of the brains of mice. Within a few days, the stem cells broke down and could not be identified in the brain. After several tests with this technique, we found that the dripping of stem cells through your nose would be the most secure and most effective method to get them into the brain.
Ten babies Following years of lab research and testing, we finally have tried the treatment on infants. The results were released in The Lancet Neurology.

Baby Tom, as mentioned previously, was the first baby to take part in the study. He had stem cells taken within the first week after birth. The idea of asking parents to enrol in an experimental treatment in the very first week of their baby’s life is a highly delicate procedure.

After a lengthy discussion with his parents, they decided to allow their son to be part of the research. The stem cells were injected through drops from his nose, which took only a few minutes. Afterwards, Tom was monitored closely for several days until the time he returned to his home.

We treated ten infants taken from hospitals throughout the Netherlands to the University Medical Center Utrecht after suffering from a stroke. All ten babies who received the stem drop of cells were administered with no problems. One baby was afflicted with a mild fever following the procedure, but it was quickly cured.
An additional MRI exam of the brain three months post-stroke demonstrated minor damage than was expected, likely due to the stem cells. At the age of four months, children treated, including Tom, performed excellently when the quality of their movements was assessed. When the children turn the age of two, we’ll test their development.

We are currently searching for ways to proceed by conducting a controlled, randomised trial (the gold standard in medical research) to establish how stem cell therapies can successfully repair brain damage following a perinatal stroke.

The discovery of a revolutionary and safe treatment for stem cells could open possibilities for babies suffering from brain injuries, like babies born too early or those suffering from a shortage of oxygen at birth (perinatal asphyxia). Stem cells offer hope for the most vulnerable group and could provide long-term advantages.

fatima khan
fatima khan
A brand new writer in the fields, Fatima has been taken under my electric spark's RGB- rich and ensures she doesn't engage in excessive snark on the website. It's unclear what command and Conquer are; however, she can talk for hours about the odd rhythm games, hardware, product reviews, and MMOs that were popular in the 2000s. Fatima has been creating various announcements, previews, and other content while here, but particularly enjoys writing regarding Products' latest news in the market she's currently addicted to. She is likely talking to an additional blogger with her current obsession right now.


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