Human Embryonic Stem Cells in the Treatment of Autism: A Case Series

Innov Clin Neurosci. 2017 Apr 1;14(3-4):12-16. eCollection Mar-Apr 2017.

Abstract

Background: Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder accompanied by weak immune system and neuroinflammation. Multiple factors contribute to etiology of autism spectrum disorder including genetic disorders, environmental substances/toxins, imbalanced immune system, encephalitis, and viral infections. Autism spectrum disorder is an incurable disease; however, it can be managed by educational and medical interventions. Human embryonic stem cell therapy has been shown to improve blood perfusion in the brain; thus, this therapy may be effective in improving motor skills, social skills, and cognition in patients with autism spectrum disorder. Method: Three pediatric patients with autism spectrum disorder were administered human embryonic stem cell therapy. Their treatment plan comprised 3 to 4 therapy sessions (T1, T2, T3, T4) that were 4 to 6 weeks in length, with 4- to 8-month gap phases separating each therapy session. Results: The patients showed improvements in eye coordination, writing, balancing, cognition, and speech and showed reduced hypersensitivity to noises and smells. Conclusion: The use of human embryonic stem cell therapy may be a safe and effective treatment for patients with autism spectrum disorder. Studies with larger sample sizes are needed to support the use of human embryonic stem cell therapy in this patient population.

Keywords: Autism; brain related disorder; hESC; human embryonic stem cell; neurodevelopmental disorder; stem cell therapy.

Publication types

  • Case Reports