Pediatric neurological disorders represent a major part of the disabilities worldwide. In over 10 decades of research to find a cure for these disorders, medical science has not been able to repair the underlying brain injury. This chapter focuses on recent advances in the application of stem cells as a therapeutic tool for some of the common neurodevelopmental disorders (cerebral palsy, autism, intellectual disability and muscular dystrophy). The mechanism of action of stem cells in each disorder has been explained. A review of clinical data has been described giving a clear understanding of current status of stem cell therapy in these disorders. Various factors influencing the outcome of stem cell therapy such as different types of cells, different routes of administration and dosage and frequency of transplantation have also been discussed. Our experience of treating these disorders is exhibited in the form of our published data. Use of novel monitoring tools such as MRI MSK and PET‐CT scan brain to track the changes occurring at cellular level after stem cell therapy are described. We also highlight the importance of a multidisciplinary approach of combining rehabilitation with stem cell therapy.
Part of the book: Physical Disabilities
Motor neuron disease (MND) is an insidious, fatal disorder that progresses with the selective loss of anterior horn cells of the spinal column. Over 150 years since it was first described, various therapeutic approaches have been tested in the quest of a cure but with little success. Current standard therapy only improves lifespan by a few months; palliative care is the only option available for patients. Stem cell therapy is a potent approach for the treatment of this devastating disease. A multitude of vitalizing effects, both paracrine and somatic, a robust safety profile, as well as ease of availability make a strong case for using these cells for therapeutic purposes. Coupled with rigorous rehabilitation, this powerful treatment modality has been shown to slow disease progression, improve quality of life, and increase survival, along with being well tolerated by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)/MND patients. Compelling preclinical as well as clinical evidence abounds that stem cells hold great potential as a therapy for ALS/MND. Although not a definitive solution yet, stem cells have been verified to have slowed and/or halted disease progression in a subset of ALS/MND patients.
Part of the book: Novel Aspects on Motor Neuron Disease
Spinal cord injury is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. Current mainstay treatment strategies consist of surgical and medical management in acute and subacute stage. Rehabilitative management in the chronic stage. None of the existing strategies can repair the damage to the spinal cord and recover neurological functioning. Stem cells have promising results in pre-clinical and clinical studies. Various pre-clinical studies have evidenced neuro-regenerative capabilities of stem cells and shown neural recovery. Clinical studies have also shown improvements in neurological functions and quality of life. This chapter discusses about different types of cells available, routes of administration available to transplant these cells, dosages of cell and optimum time after injury at which cells should be transplanted based on world-wide literature. We have also discussed results following our protocol of intrathecal transplantation of autologous bone marrow mononuclear cells. Although, not a cure, stem cell therapy further improves quality of life, functional independence and reduces secondary complications when combined with existing treatment strategies; neuroregenerative rehabilitative therapy.
Part of the book: Spinal Cord Injury Therapy
Learning disabilities (LDs) are caused by genetic and/or neurological factors that alter brain functioning and affect processes related to learning, which include dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. It hinders the child’s academic, social, and overall life skills. Current treatments for LD include medication and rehabilitation, focusing on management of symptoms. Thus, there is a need to explore newer treatments which will work at cellular level. Stem cell therapy is an evolving field of regenerative medicine and has shown great potential as a treatment strategy for various neuro-developmental and neurological disorders. It addresses the core underlying pathology and its benefits are enhanced when combined with standard treatments. This chapter focuses on various aspects of stem cell therapy in LD which includes the basics of stem cell therapy, rationale for use of stem cells, mechanism of action, monitoring tools like PET CT scan, and multidisciplinary rehabilitation. We have also enumerated our clinical experience and results of patients who underwent autologous bone marrow mononuclear cell transplantation combined with extensive rehabilitation. These patients showed a positive outcome, without any major adverse events. Nineteen out of 20 patients showed improvement in reading, writing, mathematical skills, attention, memory, problem-solving, comprehension skills, spelling, vocabulary, and overall increased academic performance.
Part of the book: Learning Disabilities