Doctors using Cord Blood to treat Cerebral Palsy - Tucson News Now

Doctors using Cord Blood to treat Cerebral Palsy

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When a child is born, some parents consider storing their child's cord blood. If a parent makes that decision, the cord blood is sent and stored in Tucson at The Cord Blood Registry laboratory.

Nathan Lennex's mother received an opportunity to store his cord blood for free for 5 years. "When I was pregnant it was a text book pregnancy, everything was normal and then my water brook at 33 weeks, he was going to be a preemie and we couldn't stop it," said Cherie Lennex, Nathan's mom. Just after he turned a year old, it was discovered that little Nathan had cerebral palsy. A nurse tested his gross motor skills and they were delayed. His mom didn't know to much about CP, she began to do some research.

They did have one positive thing going for them. As part of the Newborn Possibilities Program, Cherie was approached about storing her son's cord blood. She agreed and it was stored at CBR. Because of Nathan being a preemie, the service was free for 5 years. The program offers the service for children that are at a high risk of a serious medical condition. "We actually collected and processed over 1,000 cord blood samples from children that were born at TMC, that were predetermined to be high risk pregnancies and therefore may exhibit some neurological disorder in the future," said Kristen Swingle from the Cord Blood Registry.

After Nathan was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, doctors felt that he would a great candidate for a FDA regulated clinical trail at Georgia Health Sciences University in Augusta. Doctors there are using cord blood stem cells as a treatment for CP. They are taking 40 patients and giving them an infusion. Swingle said, "Its very similar to getting an iv drip, the stem cells are infused and it's followed up with a saline drip a very minimal impact on the child." Half of the patients will get a placebo and half will get the stem cells. The doctors and patients don't know which infusion they will receive during there 2 visits.

Nathan received his second infusion this past August. His mom has seen a change. Lennex said, "For the first 2 years of his life his progression had gotten him to just barely standing and then from August to December he is walking while holding your hand. There has to be something else other than natural progression in that its got to be."

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