Stem Cell Therapy for Cerebral Palsy
What Causes Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder that affects movement, muscle tone, and coordination. It is caused by damage or abnormal development to the areas of the brain that control motor function (movement) 1,2.
The exact cause of cerebral palsy is not always known, but some possible factors include
- Brain injury before, during, or shortly after birth
- Infections during pregnancy or in early infancy
- Genetic mutations or abnormalities
- Lack of oxygen to the brain
Risk factors for cerebral palsy include
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Multiple births, such as twins or triplets
- Maternal infections during pregnancy
The symptoms of cerebral palsy vary depending on the severity of the condition and the parts of the body that are affected. Some common symptoms include:
- Abnormal muscle tone, like stiffness or floppiness of the muscles
- Delayed motor developmental milestones, such as sitting up, crawling, or walking
- Difficulty with fine motor skills, such as writing or using scissors
- Exaggerated reflexes or reflexes that persist beyond infancy
- Muscle spasms or tremors
- Poor balance and coordination
- Speech difficulties, including slurred or slow speech, or difficulty with articulation
- Intellectual disabilities or learning difficulties
It’s important to note that not all children with cerebral palsy will experience all of these symptoms, and some may have additional symptoms not listed here.
There are several different types of cerebral palsy, which are classified based on the type of movement impairment and the parts of the body that are affected. These types include:3
- Spastic cerebral palsy affects about 70-80% of people with cerebral palsy and presents with stiff, tight muscles and difficulty with movement.
- Dyskinetic cerebral palsy presents with involuntary movements and muscle spasms. It can affect the face, arms, and legs, and can cause difficulty with speaking and eating.
- Ataxic cerebral palsy presents with balance and coordination problems. People with ataxic cerebral palsy have difficulty with fine motor skills and may walk with an unsteady gait.
- Mixed cerebral palsy involves a combination of two or more types of movement impairment.
Cerebral palsy can also be classified based on the parts of the body that are affected. These types include:
- Hemiplegic – affects one side of the body, typically the arm and leg on the same side
- Diplegic – affects two limbs or body parts on both sides of the body. Diplegic cerebral palsy tends to affect the legs more than the arms, causing difficulty with walking and balance.
- Quadriplegic – affects all four limbs and the trunk, and can also affect the muscles used for breathing and swallowing
- Triplegic – affects three limbs, typically both legs and one arm
- Monoplegic – a rare type of cerebral palsy that affects only one limb
It’s important to note that some people with cerebral palsy may have a mixture of these types or may not fit neatly into one category. Additionally, the severity of cerebral palsy can vary widely, even within the same type or classification.
Cerebral palsy is classified into several different levels of severity, based on how much it affects a person’s movement and functional abilities. The Gross Motor Function Classification System (GMFCS) classifies a person’s ability to perform gross motor skills and their mobility. The five levels of the GMFCS are: 4
- Level I, where people can walk without limitations, but may have difficulty with more complex movements and activities.
- Level II, where people can walk independently on flat surfaces but require assistive devices or support for longer distances or on uneven terrain.
- Level III, where people can walk with assistive devices, such as walkers or crutches, and may require a wheelchair for longer distances or on uneven terrain.
- Level IV, where people primarily use a wheelchair for mobility but may be able to stand or walk short distances with assistance.
- Level V, where people have severe limitations in their mobility and may require extensive support for basic daily activities.
It’s important to note that this classification system only describes a person’s movement and does not factor in cognitive abilities or communication skills. Additionally, a person’s level of severity may change over time as they receive therapy and treatment.
Stem Cell Therapy for Cerebral Palsy FAQ
The Scientific Rationale Behind Stem Cell Therapy for Cerebral Palsy
How Much Does Stem Cell Therapy Cost for Cerebral Palsy?
The cost depends on the specific treatment you will be undergoing and how many treatment sessions you need. Book a consultation with us today to get your personalized stem cell therapy treatment plan.
How Many Treatments Will I Need?
Typically, you will need 1-2 treatments, depending on the plan of care established between you and your doctor. All treatment appointments are in person, but the initial consultation and follow-up can be done by phone.
Some patients come back for additional treatments over the course of months or years. This largely depends on the stage of your disease, how well you respond to the treatment, and what your treatment goals are.
Your Patient Journey with Stem Cell Therapy for Stroke
Step 1: Application and initial consultation
Our questionnaire and initial consultation help us determine whether you’re a good candidate for stem cell therapy, along with the best treatment plans for you. Our patient advocate will walk you through the process, pricing, and payment plans.
Step 2: Physical exam
You’ll come in for a physical exam in preparation for the treatment and also to assess your current symptoms and health status.
Step 3: Stem cell collection
Your procedure will begin where we harvest cells from your bone marrow or fat tissues. We will then isolate the stem cells from these tissues in the clinic before administering your first treatment
Step 4: Stem cell culture
If applicable, we will send your stem cells to the lab to expand them in numbers.
Step 5: Future treatments
Your future stem cell treatments will be done using your cultured stem cells.
Step 6: Follow-up appointments
Our team will keep in contact with you to monitor your treatment progress and support you through your recovery.
Advantages of Stem Cell Therapy vs Standard Treatments and Other Alternative Treatments for Cerebral Palsy
Current Standard-of-care Treatments for Cerebral Palsy and Their Shortfalls
The current standards of care for cerebral palsy include a multidisciplinary approach to address issues of mobility, communication, feeding and nutrition, pain management, and cognitive and social development. Some specific interventions include the following:
- Baclofen is a muscle relaxant that reduces spasticity and improves muscle tone. Baclofen increases the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA through the GABA-B receptor in the brain to reduce muscle activity 11. Side effects can include:
- Diazepam is a benzodiazepine that reduces spasticity and improves muscle tone. It increases the activity of GABA through the GABA-A receptor in the brain to reduce muscle activity 12. Side effects include:
- Difficulty with coordination
- Tizanidine is a skeletal muscle relaxant that blocks motor neuron signals in the spinal cord to reduce muscle tone. Tizanidine has addiction potential and may cause withdrawal symptoms if abruptly discontinued 13.
- Botulinum toxin is injected directly into the affected muscles and blocks the release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which causes muscle contractions. This reduces spasticity and improves muscle function 14. Side effects can include:
- Muscle weakness
- Temporary flu-like symptoms
- Anticonvulsants are usually used to treat seizures but can help manage spasticity and other symptoms of cerebral palsy. They decrease the activity of motor neurons either directly or by increasing the activity of GABA in the brain 15–18. Side effects vary depending on the specific medication, but may include:
- Changes in mood or behavior
- Pain medications: Depending on the individual’s specific symptoms, pain medications such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be used to manage pain associated with cerebral palsy. These medications work by blocking pain signals in the brain. Side effects can include
- Stomach upset
- Liver damage with long-term use
Physical and occupational therapy
- Muscle strength
- Range of motion
- Communication devices
- Hallman-Cooper, J. L. & Cabrero, F. R. Cerebral Palsy. (StatPearls Publishing, 2022).
- Cerebral palsy. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/disorders/cerebral-palsy.
- Patel, D. R., Neelakantan, M., Pandher, K. & Merrick, J. Cerebral palsy in children: a clinical overview. Transl Pediatr 9, S125–S135 (2020).
- Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation-USA. Gross motor function classification system (GMFCS). https://cparf.org/what-is-cerebral-palsy/severity-of-cerebral-palsy/gross-motor-function-classification-system-gmfcs/.
- da Silva Meirelles, L., Caplan, A. I. & Nardi, N. B. In search of the in vivo identity of mesenchymal stem cells. Stem Cells 26, 2287–2299 (2008).
- Sun, J. M. & Kurtzberg, J. Stem cell therapies in cerebral palsy and autism spectrum disorder. Dev. Med. Child Neurol. 63, 503–510 (2021).
- Lv, Z.-Y., Li, Y. & Liu, J. Progress in clinical trials of stem cell therapy for cerebral palsy. Neural Regeneration Res. 16, 1377–1382 (2021).
- Nguyen, L. T., Nguyen, A. T., Vu, C. D., Ngo, D. V. & Bui, A. V. Outcomes of autologous bone marrow mononuclear cells for cerebral palsy: an open label uncontrolled clinical trial. BMC Pediatr. 17, 104 (2017).
- Sharma, A. et al. A clinical study of autologous bone marrow mononuclear cells for cerebral palsy patients: a new frontier. Stem Cells Int. 2015, 905874 (2015).
- Liu, X. et al. Comparative analysis of curative effect of bone marrow mesenchymal stem cell and bone marrow mononuclear cell transplantation for spastic cerebral palsy. J. Transl. Med. 15, 48 (2017).
- Ghanavatian, S. & Derian, A. Baclofen. (StatPearls Publishing, 2022).
- Dhaliwal, J. S., Rosani, A. & Saadabadi, A. Diazepam. (StatPearls Publishing, 2022).
- Ghanavatian, S. & Derian, A. Tizanidine. (StatPearls Publishing, 2022).
- Nigam, P. K. & Nigam, A. Botulinum toxin. Indian J. Dermatol. 55, 8–14 (2010).
- Betchel, N. T., Fariba, K. A. & Saadabadi, A. Lamotrigine. (StatPearls Publishing, 2022).
- Yasaei, R., Katta, S. & Saadabadi, A. Gabapentin. (StatPearls Publishing, 2022).
- Fariba, K. A. & Saadabadi, A. Topiramate. (StatPearls Publishing, 2022).
- Rahman, M. & Nguyen, H. Valproic Acid. (StatPearls Publishing, 2022).
- Das, S. P. & Ganesh, G. S. Evidence-based Approach to Physical Therapy in Cerebral Palsy. Indian J. Orthop. 53, 20–34 (2019).
- Christy, J. B., Chapman, C. G. & Murphy, P. The effect of intense physical therapy for children with cerebral palsy. J. Pediatr. Rehabil. Med. 5, 159–170 (2012).