Stem cells from cord tissue show promise for treating children with cerebral palsy

A recent clinical trial studying the effect of umbilical cord tissue mesenchymal stem cells (UCT-MSCs) on children with cerebral palsy (CP) is helping improve doctors’ ability to treat the condition.

Understanding cerebral palsy

Cerebral palsy is a group of central nervous system disorders that affect coordination and muscle tone or posture. It’s caused by damage to an infant’s developing brain, typically occurring before birth. Typically diagnosed in the United States between 12 and 24 months of age1, CP is the leading cause of physical disability in children and affects an estimated three out of every 1,000 children worldwide.2

How newborn stem cells could help

Cord tissue is a rich source of MSCs, which are being widely studied for their ability to help improve organ and tissue damage caused by age, disease, or trauma.3 The ability of MSCs to transform themselves into any cell type and then home to sites of injury make them ideal candidates to repair damage to the central nervous system (CNS), something which CNS cells cannot do on their own.4

About the study

Intrigued by research showing the potential of stem cell therapy to treat neurological disorders like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, doctors working at Children’s Medical Center, Imam Reza Hospital, and Bandar Abbas Pediatric Hospital undertook a clinical trial to study the possible benefits of using MSCs derived from umbilical cord tissue to improve the integrity of white matter in children with spastic cerebral palsy.

The research team hypothesized that the healing potential of UCT- MSCs could significantly improve clinical and imaging outcomes. Seventy-two participants with spastic CP, ages 4 to 14, participated in the study. Half of the participants received a single dose of UCT- MSCs from unrelated donors and the other half received a placebo treatment. All of the patients participated in regular rehabilitation therapy during the clinical trial.

The results

The study, conducted between July 2017 and December 2019, found that UCT-MSC injections not only appear to be safe for children with CP, they improved clinical and brain imaging outcomes.

The most exciting finding came six months after their injection of UCT-MSCs when patients began to show significantly improved motor function. These children demonstrated an increased ability for self-care and were better able to interact with friends and family as well as participate in activities.

What this means for newborn stem cells

As further research is conducted into the beneficial potential of MSCs to treat CP – as well as many other diseases – the importance of preserving your baby’s newborn stem cells increases significantly. More than 500 clinical trials have been initiated using cord blood and cord tissue stem cells in regenerative medicine.5

Another reason to preserve

Expecting families now have another reason to consider preserving their baby’s newborn stem cells, and those who have already preserved have another reason to feel comforted about these future possibilities. Expecting a child? Have friends or family who are expecting? Enroll with us today or log into your account for your unique referral code. When someone you refer preserves with CBR, you’ll get one year of free cord blood storage—and they’ll receive special pricing on our cord blood and cord tissue bundle.


1 te Velde A, Morgan C, Novak I, Tantsis E, Badawi N. Early Diagnosis and Classification of Cerebral Palsy: An Historical Perspective and Barriers to an Early Diagnosis. J Clin Med. 2019 Oct 3;8(10):1599. doi: 10.3390/jcm8101599. PMID: 31623303; PMCID: PMC6832653.

2 Amanat, M., Majmaa, A., Zarrabi, M. et al. Clinical and imaging outcomes after intrathecal injection of umbilical cord tissue mesenchymal stem cells in cerebral palsy: a randomized double-blind sham-controlled clinical trial. Stem Cell Res Ther 12, 439 (2021).

3 “Verter, F., Couto, P. S., & Bersenev, A. (2018). A dozen years of clinical trials performing advanced cell therapy with perinatal cells. Future Science OA, 4(10). doi: 10.4155/fsoa-2018-0085”

4 Xu, X., Warrington, A.E., Bieber, A.J. et al. Enhancing CNS Repair in Neurological Disease. CNS Drugs 25, 555–573 (2011).

5 Internal source: data on file

2 thoughts on “Stem cells from cord tissue show promise for treating children with cerebral palsy

    1. Hi. We’re sending our best to your family. 💜💜 Assuming you’re a CBR client, we’d recommend you complete or update your Family Health Questionnaire. This way, you’ll be among the first to know about emerging research relevant to your child’s diagnosis and newborn stem cells. If you have more specific questions, please fill out this form in your online client account to connect with one of our clinical specialists:

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