Safety and feasibility of autologous cord blood infusion for improving motor function in young children with cerebral palsy in Japan: A single-center study



      Cerebral palsy (CP) is the most prevalent motor disorder of childhood. It typically results from in utero or perinatal brain injury. Recently, it has been reported that autologous cord blood (ACB) infusion for children with CP improved gross motor function and brain connectivity, but unfortunately, it has never been tried in Japan. We conducted a pilot study of the infusing of ACB, which was delivered from private bank, in the children with CP to assess the safety and feasibility to the procedure as well as any effect in improving neurological function.


      After demonstrating the induction of tissue regeneration in animal model studies conducted a single-arm pilot study of intravenous ACB infusion in 6 young Japanese children with CP (ages 1–6 years). Primary outcomes were safety assessed by vital signs, clinical symptoms, and blood and urinary examinations at baseline and 1 weeks, 1, 2 and 3 years after treatment. In addition, motor function evaluations, neurodevelopmental examinations, magnetic resonance imaging, and electroencephalography (EEG) were performed at the same time.


      Infusion was generally well-tolerated, although one patient experienced microhematuria 1 year after treatment and another one patient experienced febrile convulsion once 9 months after treatment. These events were transient, no relapse was seen during observation study. All patients improved a median of 6.8 points on the 1-year Gross Motor Functional Measure-66 (GMFM-66) scores, greater than predicted by age and severity. Furthermore, the 2-year and 3-year GMFM-66 scores were also greater than expected (median 6.2 points and 5.5 points, respectively). Overall scales and language-social scales of the developmental quotient (DQ) improved in 3 of 6 patients, who had greater changes in their GMFM-66 scores than the other cases after treatment. There were no significant correlations among the GMFM-66 scores, DQ, and infusion cell counts.


      ACB infusion was safe and feasible for clinical use in patients with CP. However, much more clinical study with larger numbers of patients and in-depth studies of treatment mechanism of CP are needed.


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