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Four Year Old Boy Shows Clear Improvements in Autism Symptoms After Stem Cell Trial

10/08/2018

A young boy from Kolkata has shown clear improvements during a stem cell trial.

Apratim is four years old and is on the autism spectrum, although his is currently involved in the stem cell study at Duke of University School of Medicine in the United States and has begun to see a positive reaction to the stem cell therapy.

Autism is a developmental disorder that impairs a child’s social ability, speech and can create behavior issues. At present, treatment is limited to various forms of therapy, some affecting a person’s life substantially. There is no clarity on what causes autism and there is no ‘cure.’

Within the American trial, the boy’s own stem cells extracted from his umbilical cord at birth are being used to treat some of the symptoms of autism. The trial was a double-blind and placebo controlled, and another trial is being carried out within the University.

The age range of the children involved in the study are between 2 to 6 and there are over 165 participants.

Apratim took part in a trial that extracted stem cells from his umbilical cord, in the hope of trying to reduce the symptoms of autism.

When Apratim was born, he was born prematurely at just 36 weeks, he hit every birth and development mark, until he was around 18 months. It was around the 18-month period, when his mother and father began to notice that their son wasn’t developing and communicating with other people the way most children his age were.

Apurba Dey Singha, Apratim father said:“We were worried but our local pediatrician was positive. He asked us to observe him for another six months. We saw no changes in his behavior.”

As a result of how tough Autism is to diagnose, a child usually reaches around the age of 2 when parent notice the symptoms.

When Apurba traveled to Delhi to consult a doctor, Apratim was diagnosed with autism which mainly affected his speech and communication.

In a bid to try to reduce his symptoms, the family tried bio medical treatment, this therapy meant a change of diet as well as supplements, unimpressed Apurba researched online for different solutions.

Apurba, said that during July of 2017 “I found out that at Duke Autism Center they were conducting a phase 2 trial involving the use of the child’s own cord blood to treat autism. We had preserved Apratim’s cord blood with LifeCell during his birth. We reached out and after a number of tests Apratim was infused with his own stem cells.”

Apratim

Apratim was part of a study that used his own stem cells to treat some symptoms of autism. (Photo Credit: Apurba Dey Singha)

In the last 9 months, Apurba has seen a significant change. His son is communicating more, his cognitive skills have improved, he’s started school and likes playing with his friends.

Apratim parents have to carry out monthly surveys so they can be compared to before the trial started and work out what the improvements are.

The second phase of the trial is currently ongoing although is due to finish next month when the final results will be published, but the initial trial has offered a positive outcome.

During the first trial over two-thirds of children according to the researchers presented improvements speech, socialization and eye contact, following the stem cell treatment which was published on April 5, 2017 in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine.

While these findings are promising, the first trial was not placebo controlled and it was also open labeled- so each child was given a stem cell infusion.

The latest findings are exciting especially for Apratim and his family who are waiting for the latest verdict following the end of the trial in August. While this is a positive step, there still is a way to go into working out how this treatment may affect children later in their lives.

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