Using stem cells derived from their bone marrow, children suffering from traumatic brain injury will be treated in a first clinical trial of its kind. The clinical trial is FDA-approved and builds on previous results on in vitro and animal testing showing that bone-marrow derived stem cells can migrate to an injured area of the brain, differentiate into new neurons and support cells, and induce brain repair.
The principal investigators will screen for 10 head injury patients between the ages of 5 and 14, and request permission from their parents for enrollment in the trial.
If permission is granted, bone marrow will be extracted from the child’s hip and then processed to derive two types of progenitor stem cells: mesenchymal stem cells, which differentiate into bone, cartilage and fat cells, and research indicates can also differentiate into neurons; and hematopoietic stem cells, which form all the cells needed for blood. Preclinical research indicates that the mesenchymal stem cells play the major role in producing new neurons and support cells.
As a Phase I clinical trial, the project’s first emphasis is to establish the safety of the procedure, with a secondary goal of observing possible therapeutic effects.
Source: University of Texas News Room