Stem Cell Therapy
Neural stem cells are known to aid in the repair of nerve tissue. Stem cell treatments introduce stem cells to repair this damaged tissue. Typically, the baby’s umbilical cord with its blood cells is harvested and frozen, until its cells will be extracted and used. The aim of the treatment is to regenerate the dead and damaged neural cells by using stem cell transplantation. To do so, the stem cells are injected using IVs and lumbar punctures in order to better target the affected area in the spinal cord. The potential of stem cell therapy for spina bifida is extremely encouraging, and there are some who believe that in a few decades a cure will be found for babies born with this condition. This is why parents of babies diagnosed with spina bifida should consider storing the umbilical cord cells in a proper facility. Unfortunately, at present, the only medical centers offering stem cell therapy for spina bifida are outside the US, including centers in Mexico, China and Germany.
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Skeptical of Treatments in China/Mexico
“At one point, my husband and I had decided to take my daughter to Mexico for a stem cell treatment and were so excited at the possibilities. However, we spent countless hours researching and making phone calls and we could not find any medical professionals that supported the treatments. Every doctor we spoke with firmly believed that the science was not there yet and by going to Mexico/China we would not only not see results but we would be putting our daughter in the care of medical facilities that don't follow US protocols and could adversely effect her health. We also spoke with several stem cell researchers--people who firmly believed in the possibility of future treatments--but all said what was currently offered was not doing anything. When I spoke with a doctor at Kennedy Krieger she said that when/if studies become avail in the US as science evolves, anyone who sought treatment outside of the US would not be eligible for those studies. I also spoke in depth with the representative from Nova in Mexico. When I asked her if stem cells helped bowels, she emphatically said yes. When I pressed her for details, she told me the story of a boy who felt his bowels for the first time, had a stomach ache, but the improvement did not go beyond the feeling--no decrease in medication, no increase in sphincter control, no ability to control bowels, etc. I didn't find those results very convincing. I am extremely hopeful for stem cells in the future but am very skeptical of the current treatments in Mexico and China.”
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