Autism Awareness Month is a nationwide effort created to raise awareness about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and individuals or families affected by this diagnosis. By promoting awareness, the lives of those living with autism, an estimated 2 million children and adults in the United States alone, may be improved.
ASD is a general term for a developmental disorder, which can manifest in challenges with verbal and nonverbal communication, social interaction, and repetitive behaviors. An estimated 1 in 68 children are diagnosed with an ASD, with boys being five times more likely than girls to develop autism. Current therapies for ASD attempt to address the primary challenges and consist of a wide range of behavioral therapies, medications, and other interventions. There is no known cure and the cause of ASD remains unclear.
There is considerable interest in researching effective treatments or cures for ASD. By 2019, an estimated $3 billion will have been invested in autism research, services, training and monitoring by the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Health Resources and Services Administration. Presently there are two FDA-regulated U.S. clinical trials evaluating the use of cord blood stem cells as a treatment for autism. Both studies are assessing safety as well as language and behavior outcomes after a child with autism receives an infusion of their own cord blood stem cells.
The first study is at Sutter Neurosciences Institute led by Dr. Michael Chez. The study is fully enrolled with 30 children with autism between the ages of 2 to 7 years whose cord blood stem cells had been stored at the time of birth at Cord Blood Registry®. The second study is at Duke University led by Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg, and this study is also is fully enrolled with 20 children with autism between the ages of 2 to 6 years. We are excited to learn about the results of these studies in the months to come.
For more information on CBR’s autism clinical trial, click here.