UTHealth studies cord blood stem cells for pediatric traumatic brain injury

Jan 05, 2011

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) has begun enrollment for the first Phase I safety study approved by the Food and Drug Administration to investigate the use of a child's own umbilical cord blood stem cells for traumatic brain injury in children. The study is being performed in conjunction with Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital, UTHealth's primary children's teaching hospital.

The innovative study, which builds on UTHealth's growing portfolio of research using stem cell-based therapies for neurological damage, is led by principal investigator Charles S. Cox, the Children's Fund Distinguished Professor of Pediatric Surgery and Pediatrics at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, part of UTHealth, and director of the pediatric trauma program at Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital. It will enroll 10 children ages 18 months to 17 years who have banked with Cord Blood Registry (CBR) and have suffered moderate to severe (TBI).

The study is not designed for acute care and will only enroll participants within 6-18 months of their injury.

Although the neurologic outcome for nearly all types of brain injury (with the exception of abuse) is better for children than adults, trauma is the leading cause of death in children, and the majority of the deaths are attributed to head injury.

"Using cord blood is a critical link in the next step of UTHealth's programmatic approach to researching stem cell therapies for brain injury," Cox said. "Implementing this novel therapy has required strong partnerships with Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital and the CBR Center for Regenerative Medicine, and is possible through a investment by the state of Texas and private philanthropy."

To enroll in the study, parents or caregivers of patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury should contact CBR (www.cordblood.com/UTHealth) and after consent is obtained, the information will be relayed to the UTHealth research group. If all qualifications are met, the patient will travel to Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital. The cells will be processed and intravenously infused. Patients will be followed at six months, one year and two years.

A recently completed Phase I study at UTHealth (publication in press), which investigated a bone-marrow stem cell therapy in children with acute traumatic brain injury, revealed positive safety results, Cox said.
The FDA-authorized protocol is specific to the standardized processing and storage protocol of CBR, making it the only family stem cell bank providing patients for the study.

"This study is at the forefront of research evaluating a child's own cord blood stem cells' ability to help facilitate the healing process after damage to nerve tissue in the brain," said Heather Brown, vice president of scientific & medical affairs at Cord Blood Registry. "CBR is helping advance medical research for regenerative therapies by connecting the child whose family banked with CBR to appropriate researchers."

UTHealth is also investigating stem cell therapy for acute stroke patients in an NIH-sponsored, Phase I study by Sean Savitz, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Neurology; and for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) patients in a Phase II study led by Ali E. Denktas, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine.

Explore further: Researchers find that coronary arteries hold heart-regenerating cells

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Northwestern first site open for spinal cord stem cell trial

Sep 22, 2010

Northwestern Medicine is the first site open for enrollment in a national clinical research trial of a human embryonic stem cell-based therapy for participants with a subacute thoracic spinal cord injury. Following the procedure, ...

Scientists discover new source for harvesting stem cells

Jun 23, 2009

A groundbreaking study conducted by Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland is the first to reveal a new avenue for harvesting stem cells from a woman's placenta, or more specifically the discarded placentas ...

Recommended for you

Student seeks to improve pneumonia vaccines

5 hours ago

Almost a million Americans fall ill with pneumonia each year. Nearly half of these cases require hospitalization, and 5-7 percent are fatal. Current vaccines provide protection against some strains of the ...

Seabed solution for cold sores

6 hours ago

The blue blood of abalone, a seabed delicacy could be used to combat common cold sores and related herpes virus following breakthrough research at the University of Sydney.

Better living through mitochondrial derived vesicles

Aug 19, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—As principal transformers of bacteria, organelles, synapses, and cells, vesicles might be said to be the stuff of life. One need look no further than the rapid rise to prominence of The ...

Zebrafish help to unravel Alzheimer's disease

Aug 19, 2014

New fundamental knowledge about the regulation of stem cells in the nerve tissue of zebrafish embryos results in surprising insights into neurodegenerative disease processes in the human brain. A new study by scientists at ...

Engineering new bone growth

Aug 19, 2014

MIT chemical engineers have devised a new implantable tissue scaffold coated with bone growth factors that are released slowly over a few weeks. When applied to bone injuries or defects, this coated scaffold ...

User comments : 0