Archive for the ‘Stem Cell Research’ Category

Cerebral Palsy: Cord Blood Stem Cell Research and Treatment in Clinical Trials – Update

April 29, 2010

For those of  you who follow our blogs, you know well that this is a topic of interest for us.  It bears repeating – our job as lawyers is to properly investigate potential claims of malpractice in areas such as cerebral palsy and seek redress for our clients when the evidence demonstrates a connection between birth injuries and medical care, but the much more important topic for our clients and victims of cerebral palsy is in the field of medical research. It is through research efforts – including clinical trials – that this dreaded condition will be ameliorated and hopefully eradicated. Trust me, after practicing law for over 35 years, I’m not worried about job security – the frailties of the human condition will more than suffice to fill our file cabinets with people to help due to the negligence of others.

We have reported previously on various topics involving cord blood and stem cell research as they relate to a number of conditions, including cerebral palsy.  It seems that months have passed since there has been any significant news about two programs underway: one at the Medical College of Georgia and the other at Duke.  Earlier this month, an update came across the social media network via a post by Singularity Hub – Cord Blood Stem Cell Treatment for Cerebral Palsy in Clinical Trial | Singularity Hub.

Here’s our encapsulated version regarding the studies and Singularity Hub’s report.

Photo provided by MSNBC

Duke University

According to the website, Duke began a clinical therapeutic trial – identifier: NCT00593242 – in January 2008 (estimated completion date of January 2011) whose primary purpose is listed as treatment of newborns with hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) – inadequate oxygenation in the perinatal period for purposes of this study – through the controlled “collection, preparation and infusion of a baby’s own (autologous) umbilical cord blood in the first 14 days after birth if the baby is born with signs of brain injury.” For information concerning the inclusion and exclusion criteria for participation in this clinical trial, see the online posting. Essentially, the babies are then to be “followed for neurodevelopmental outcome at 4 – 6 and 9 – 12 months at Duke’s Special Infant Care Clinic. MRI’s will be obtained between postnatal weeks 1 and 4, and, for study purposes at 4 – 6 postnatal months.”

While other aspects of processing and administration are no doubt part of the key components of this project, it is readily apparent that the end-point goal is discovery of an effective treatment of cerebral palsy for the identified neonates in the study and then development of a second stage clinical trial to take such treatment modality to a greater number of potential beneficiaries.

Medical College of Georgia

For detailed information on this study, which began in February of this year, similar information is available through under identifier NCT01072370.  This clinical trial investigation has a patient population consisting of children from ages of 2 to 12, “whose parents have saved their infant’s cord blood, who have non-progressive motor disability, and whose parents intend to have a cord blood infusion.”  Again – for full details regarding inclusion and exclusion criteria, see the full online posting.

For those parents who may be interested in determining if their child would qualify to participate, the study is still recruiting participants.  The contact information is also available at this link: Contact: James E Carroll, M.D.     706-721-3371

Today’s report from Singularity Hub provides some encouraging – albeit anecdotal – news of potential progress.

The anecdotal evidence in support of treating cerebral palsy with cord blood stem cells is astounding. Much of it has actually been been performed at Duke University by one of the investigators in the pilot study: Joanne Kurtzberg. Among those that have been successfully treated at Duke include Ryan Schneider, Maia Friedlander, Chloe Levine, and Dallas Hextell. All had CP or CP-like symptoms and all made remarkable recoveries after cord blood stem cell treatments. Dallas Hextell, who showed improvements just 5 days after his therapy was featured on the Today show (the original report contains video compliments of MSNBC).

In addition to the early good news coming out of these projects, one other lesson is learned – for the time being, the storage of cord blood is an important component for those hoping to participate in such studies – particularly that being conducted at the Medical College of Georgia.  We have earlier reported on this topic as well.  You may want to refer to our early posting for some basic information if you are interested.

Obviously, the implications – if these projects prove to be successful – are far-reaching. The enthusiasm of the participants in these research projects is not limited to them alone. The words of the author, Aaron Saenz, from Singularity Hub somewhat tells it all:

So we have some exciting news for cerebral palsy, and some exciting news for those thinking about cord blood. What about the rest of us? Well the MCG and Duke work has some far reaching implications. Neurological damage, whether it’s caused by oxygen deprivation or some other injury, is one of the most difficult things to heal in the body. Work in animals (like that done by Carroll on rats) show that stem cells can not only help damaged brain cells recover, but they can also replace cells that have died. We may find that stem cells therapies have a wide range of applications for many different forms of brain damage. Kurtzberg is researching many different ways cord blood could be used (autologous or through donors) to treat a variety of conditions. In other words, today stem cells conquer cerebral palsy…tomorrow, the world.

Let’s all hope that Mr. Saenz is a prophet.

Research – Stem Cells: Adult Stem Cells Producing As Much Excitement in Research Community as Embryonic Cells

April 25, 2010

We continue to report on stem cell research since it is clear that the joy and exuberance of researchers may one day (hopefully not too far away) translate into cure and joy for many afflicted with and suffering from  a variety of diseases.  While our earlier reports have somewhat centered on stem cell research in the field of cerebral palsy, rep0rts continue to surface as to a variety of other positive advances relating to adult disorders.  

As a side note – you may wonder why a law firm, whose task it is to represent those injured by the negligence of others, would have any interest in positive medical news.  The answer is quite simple – having had the privilege of representing injured clients and making their lives a bit better monetarily, lawyers are always limited in just how much they can do to improve the quality of life for their clients. It is the medical community that will ultimately make the difference in alleviating if not curing these life-altering disabilities.  Therefore, we at Nash & Associates have  decided that in our blog, we will not only report on strictly legal issues (verdicts, key appellate decisions, changes in the law, etc.), but also on key medical news  (the good, the bad and the ugly) including significant medical advances. Contrary to what many cynics say about the legal profession – it is not all about the money.

This point in history marks a period of approximately one year since President Obama removed limitations on research into embryonic stem cells.  While significant amounts of research money was to be devoted toward this research, the financial crisis has no doubt had an impact on freeing up this financial commitment.  What is of significance, however, is that the answers to many advances in treatment options using stem cells may lie in non-embryonic stem cells. A recent posting in Top News suggests that the excitement in the research community is in large part based on their recent discovery that adult stem cells taken from a patient’s bone marrow or belly fat may yield positive results equaling those of embryonic stem cells.

Dr. Joshua Hare, Director of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the University Of Miami Medical School stated that adult stem cells are more flexible than they had thought. The embryonic stem cell may not be the one that proves to be really successful in the actual therapy.

His institution has already been injecting the area around a patient’s heart so as to help heal the tissue injured in a heart attack.  It is also noteworthy that adult cells are also being used in research programs to bring about improvement in functioning of patients with  injured spinal cords.

For those of you interested in advances in stem cell research, there are many excellent blogs and reports appearing on almost a monthly, if not weekly basis. You may want to check out The Stem CellThe Stem Cell Blog and a new friend of ours on Twitter – cellresearch. There is also a very helpful and informative site created by the National Institute of Health, which provides a very good basic understanding for the public of what stem cells are, the government’s policy on stem cell research, current research projects and the like.