Cerebral Palsy Blog

Cerebral Palsy Blog

Baby's Blood Could Help Prevent Cerebral Palsy

Sunday, June 01, 2014

New research seems to point to the protective and beneficial qualities in a baby’s own blood, that could help fight back the chances of cerebral palsy.

Pre-clinical studies were conducted by Melbourne researchers at the MIMR-phi Institute of Medical Research, and found that the cord blood of newborn babies, if given back to the baby within the first 12 hours of life, can actually help reduce the risk of long-term brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation at birth.

Birth oxygen deprivation is a major cause of cerebral palsy in babies. The oxygen deprivation can occur either during labor, or during the process of delivery. If the oxygen deprivation is serious enough, or if there has been a blockage of oxygen supply to the brain for a prolonged period of time, the baby could suffer from symptoms of cerebral palsy and long-term brain damage.

According to the researchers, they found in their study that when babies were administered cord blood within 12 hours after birth, the risk of cerebral palsy was dramatically reduced. They are now looking at the specific properties in the cord blood that could give the maximum benefit to baby. They're currently looking at three types of stem cells in the cord that could help prevent long-term brain damage. These include mesenchymal stem cells that repair nervous tissue damage in the brain, endothelial progenitor cells which are responsible for the flow of blood to the injured region, and T-regulatory cells which have established anti-imprimatur properties.

The pre-clinical trials were conducted on sheep, and cord blood from lambs was injected back into the animal within 12 hours after the injury. A national human clinical trial on human beings is likely to follow suit.