Unfortunately, there is no cure at this time for cerebral palsy. Medications, therapy, and surgery can be used only to ease the symptoms and give a child a better quality of life. However, once cerebral palsy has been diagnosed and confirmed, the child will likely have the condition for the rest of their life unless a cure is found shortly. Doctors are working on research to find a cure, but the vast majority of it at this time is in ways to ease symptoms and make the condition as manageable as possible.
Right now, researchers, scientists, and doctors don’t have a full understanding of cerebral palsy and everything it entails. For that reason, it is very hard to work on or develop a cure. Neuroscientists work regularly on ways to better understand it and have an effect on the brain as it develops, but until there is a better understanding, a cure will likely not be available.
There is one avenue that researchers are using to work on a cure, however, and it comes in the form of stem cell therapy.
What Is Stem Cell Therapy?
Right now, the concept of using stem cells to treat cerebral palsy is mostly just an idea, not something that can be done. However, clinical trials are taking place in which umbilical cord blood is used for blood transfusions to introduce the healthy stem cells into the body.
As you may already know, cerebral palsy occurs when there is damage to the motor control center of the brain. The brain is a vast, somewhat unexplored territory with millions of different cells, and for that reason, doctors still don’t fully understand how it functions and how cerebral palsy affects it. However, stem cells will develop into brain cells, so the idea is that these stem cells can be used to replace the damaged parts of the brain.
The therapy that researchers are working on at this time would include stem cell transplantation to replace damaged brain cells before they die permanently. Right now, there is a massive debate going on as to whether or not this is an effective way to treat cerebral palsy. Additionally, clinical trials are taking place at this moment.
The Clinical Trials
Different researchers have varying ideas of how stem cell therapy could help children with cerebral palsy. Some believe that this could be the key to the cure. Others believe it may not be a cure but could significantly reduce symptoms. Clinical trials are regularly used to test these theories and determine what stem cell therapy can and cannot do.
At this time, the vast majority of trials are looking at ways cord blood can be used to treat the condition. Cord blood is infused into the patient’s body so that stem cells can travel to the brain and develop into brain cells. At this time, cord blood has already been successful in treating certain types of diseases, including leukemia, so there is a great promise to it.
At this period, most research into cerebral palsy isn’t looking for a cure. That’s because experts still don’t fully understand everything about the brain and this condition. So, most of the research is in finding ways to ease symptoms and improve the quality of life for the patients. However, there are some studies going on in hopes of finding a cure. It will just take time and more clinical trials to determine if any of this research will be helpful for children with cerebral palsy. At this time, of all the research out there, stem cells seem to offer the most promise.