DAVID GRANOVSKY

AUTISM TRIAL AT DUKE UNIVERSITY

In STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on July 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm

http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/record/NCT02176317
“Umbilical cord blood (UCB) has been shown to lessen the clinical and radiographic impact of hypoxic brain injury and stroke in animal models and in infants with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. UCB also engrafts and differentiates in the brain, facilitating neural cell repair in animal models and human patients with inborn errors of metabolism undergoing allogeneic, unrelated donor UCB transplantation. Infusion of autologous UCB does not require immunosuppression and has been shown to be safe in young children with brain injuries such as cerebral palsy and stroke. In this study, the investigators hypothesize that infusion of a patient’s own umbilical cord blood cells (UCB) can offer neural protection/repair in the brain and reduction of inflammation associated with this disorder.”

DUKE STEM CELL AUTISM TRIAL

There’s a lot of skepticism surrounding this trial using cord blood stem cells to treat autism.  Apparently, the concerns are:

1.  Autism is a name given to a whole host of diseases yet to be named, ie. many different symptoms.
Stem cells are part of the natural healing system in the body.  They are smart and migrate to fix damaged tissue and cells.  Stem cells work within your body in conjunction with your physiology.  You can try to train and control them but they have a mind of their own.  For ex: When cardiac stem cells are injected into the heart, they often finish their work and then migrate down to the Pancreas and fix it.  IV implantation is very much in keeping with this idea and relies on the stem cells smart capabilities.  On a certain level, we don’t need to know what is broken.  They do.  A soldier is trained to respond to orders, then told what to do and they damn well do it.  Marines are taught to adapt, improvise, overcome and often sent into battle with limited intel.  When faced with an obstacle, they change their strategy and create a new one to succeed.  Both are very valuable.  Stem cells are born Marines.

2.  We don’t know what causes Autism so we can’t treat it.
The people saying we don’t “know” what causes Autism are the same people who “knew” cardiac cells don’t regenerate, central nervous system cells don’t regenerate, only Embryonic stem cells have value, Margarine is better than Butter, etc. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. 

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
– Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio

Our knowledge is incredibly limited.  As time goes on, we learn more and everything we held as inviolate becomes…violated.   Taking into consideration that everything we “know” will be proven wrong in a few decades and then wrong again in another few after that as we learn more…people should probably stop blocking treatments because of what they “know” or in this case, don’t “know.”

This just popped up and I had to add it. Regulation of developmental gene expression occurs in the reverse order to that expected   http://phys.org/news/2014-07-developmental-gene-reverse.html – “…modifications involving Polycomb proteins occur in a manner that contradicts existing models.” 

3.  Stem cells can’t make it into the brain where the damage is.
This is a test for safety of stem cells in Autistic children so efficacy is only a secondary consideration.  Let’s see if they tolerate a small amount of stem cells first before giving them a full dose, though I see no reason why they wouldn’t.   Duke U. is where a number of successful pediatric cord blood/Cerebral Palsy trials were held. https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/cerebral-palsy-and-stem-cells/  CP involves the brain.  Stem cells have a history of success with Ataxia, Traumatic Brain injury, etc. etc.

Conclusion:

  • Proof of concept with brain injury and stroke symptoms in animals and infants with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy.
  • Proof of concept with facilitating neural cell repair in animal models and human patients with inborn errors of metabolism undergoing allogeneic, unrelated donor UCB transplantation.
  • Autologous UCB means no immunosuppression required. 
  • Shown to be safe in young children with brain injuries such as cerebral palsy and stroke.
  • Stem cells are “smart” Marines.
  • Not knowing what causes a problem is no reason to not try to fix it.

That’s a lot of good reasons to forge ahead. 
Plus, tragically, it’s only getting worse out there.

Photo: Prevalence of ASDs with 8 Year olds

 

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