Cerebral palsy (CP) is a common disability which results in permanent chronic motor disability appearing in early childhood. Recently human umbilical cord blood mesenchymal stem cell (hUCB-MSC) infusion has emerged as a promising therapeutic strategy for CP, and the treatment efficacy remains to be confirmed by clinical trials. All 54 patients received basic rehabilitation as a background treatment. The infusion group comprising 27 patients received 4 infusions of hUCB-MSCs (intravenous infusions at a fixed dose of 5 × 107) and basic rehabilitation treatment, whereas 27 patients in the control group received 0.9% normal saline and basic rehabilitation treatment. Several indices were tested from baseline up to 24 months posttreatment regarding efficacy and safety evaluations, including the gross motor function measurement 88 (GMFM-88) scores, the comprehensive function assessment (CFA), lab tests, electroencephalogram (EEG), routine magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and adverse events. The changes in the total proportion of GMFM-88 and total scores of CFA in the hUCB-MSC infusion group were significantly higher than that in control group at 3, 6, 12, 24 months posttreatment. Less diffuse slow waves were noticed after hUCB-MSC infusion in patients with slowing of EEG background rhythms at baseline. Based on the routine MRI exams, improvements in cerebral structures were rare after treatment. Serious adverse events were not observed during the whole study period. The results of the study indicated that hUCB-MSC infusion with basic rehabilitation was safe and effective in improving gross motor and comprehensive functions in children with CP.
Keywords: cerebral palsy; clinical trial; human umbilical cord blood mesenchymal stem cells.