Stem Cell Therapy For Spina Bifida?
Stem cell treatments introduce adult stem cells into damaged tissue to treat the birth defect. The same approach is used for spina bifida injuries. Typically, the baby’s umbilical cord with its blood cells is harvested and frozen, until its cells will be extracted and used.
There are reports of people who had their babies’ umbilical cord blood frozen for up to 25 years for around 2,500 Euros or $3,000 Dollars, depending on the location of the harvest banks.
The potential of stem cell therapy for spina bifida is extremely encouraging, and there are some who believe that in a few decades a cure will be found for babies born with this condition. This is why parents of babies diagnosed with spina bifida can consider storing the umbilical cord cells in a proper facility.
At present, as with most types of stem cell therapies, those for spina bifida are still experimental and thus extremely costly and not often carried out. As of 2012 there are a few medical centers offering stem cell therapy for spina bifida, but all of them outside the US.
The Regenerative Medicine Institute in Mexico is one of the medical centers offering stem cell treatment for spina bifida. Like most other institutions offering stem cell therapy, RMIM is careful to point out that although its procedures can give a lot of hope to sufferers, stem cell therapy is still a controversial treatment, one that does not guarantee each patient good results, which is why it doesn’t make specific claims to the efficacy or safety of the therapy it offers. The institute carefully selects its patients after a screening, selecting only those that would benefit from the treatment.
Spina Bifida is also treated with stem cell therapy in China. Sarah was a little girl from Ecuador who underwent treatment in China and as a result she can walk better, has a better posture, and her legs are more straight and more sensible than they used to be. Sarah’s parents needed $40,000 for the procedure, and they began gathering it on Facebook, by asking friends donate to them $1.
Additionally, there is also stem cell therapy available in Germany not specifically for spina bifida but for a variety of spinal cord injuries.
In the end you have to keep in mind that stem cell therapy is in its infancy, and despite its huge potential, it is still experimental and costly.
All the therapy centers mentioned above draw a lot on experimental research, which is why they should be approached with caution.
ABC Report about how Stem Cell Treatment has helped a child start walking