Backgrounds: We conducted a pilot study of the infusion of intravenous autologous cord blood (CB) in children with cerebral palsy (CP) to assess the safety and feasibility of the procedure as well as its potential efficacy in countering neurological impairment.
Methods: Patients diagnosed with CP were enrolled in this study if their parents had elected to bank their CB at birth. Cryopreserved CB units were thawed and infused intravenously over 10~20 minutes. We assessed potential efficacy over 6 months by brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), brain perfusion single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and various evaluation tools for motor and cognitive functions.
Results: Twenty patients received autologous CB infusion and were evaluated. The types of CP were as follows: 11 quadriplegics, 6 hemiplegics, and 3 diplegics. Infusion was generally well-tolerated, although 5 patients experienced temporary nausea, hemoglobinuria, or urticaria during intravenous infusion. Diverse neurological domains improved in 5 patients (25%) as assessed with developmental evaluation tools as well as by fractional anisotropy values in brain MRI-DTI. The neurologic improvement occurred significantly in patients with diplegia or hemiplegia rather than quadriplegia.
Conclusions: Autologous CB infusion is safe and feasible, and has yielded potential benefits in children with CP.