Cerebral palsy refers to a group of non-progressive, non-contagious conditions that cause physical disability and applies to the cerebrum in the brain and the disorder of movement. The brain damage normally doesn't worsen, but secondary diseases are very common. Most notable are various orthopedic difficulties and motor disorders, arthritis and osteoporosis. It cannot be cured. Standard treatments include drugs, mechanical aids, physical therapy, behavioral therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. All these approaches are focused at helping the patient overcome developmental disabilities or learn new ways to accomplish difficult tasks.
The Xcell-Center Cerebral Palsy treatmentThe XCell-Center's cerebral palsy treatment differs from standard methods because it attacks the root cause of CP inside the brain. Stem cell therapy is a drug-free alternative focused on affecting physical changes in the brain that can improve a child's quality of life.
Almost 70% of the cerebral palsy patients treated with stem cells at the XCell-Center show improvement.
Most cerebral palsy patients are treated by lumbar puncture; injecting the stem cells into the cerebrospinal fluid which transports them up the spinal canal and into the brain. A new procedure, by which the stem cells are surgically implanted directly into the brain, is also available. Lumbar puncture is an outpatient procedure that requires patients to stay in Germany 4 or 5 nights. Direct surgical implantation is an inpatient procedure that requires patients to stay in Germany for about 10 nights.
Bone Marrow CollectionOn the first day, bone marrow is collected from the patient's iliac crest (hip bone) using thin-needle mini-puncture under local anesthesia. Although some pain is felt when the needle is inserted, most patients do not find the bone marrow collection procedure particularly painful. The entire procedure normally takes about 30 minutes. The bone marrow collection procedure requires patients to sit still, it is performed under general anesthesia for children. Once the bone marrow collection is complete, patients may return to their hotel and go about normal activities. Patients who receive general anesthesia must lie down for a short recovery period before returning to their hotel. More detailed information on the bone marrow collection procedure is available in the Bone Marrow Informed Consent document
Laboratory ProcessingThe next day, the stem cells are processed from the bone marrow in a state-of-the-art, government approved (cGMP) laboratory. In the lab, both the quantity and quality of the stem cells are measured. These cells have the potential to transform into multiple types of cells and are capable of regenerating or repairing damaged tissue.
Stem Cell ImplantationOn the third day, the stem cells are implanted back into the patient by lumbar puncture or surgical implantation. Surgical implantation is performed under general anesthesia for all patients.
Lumbar PunctureA spinal needle is inserted between L4 and L5 vertebrae and a small amount of spinal fluid is removed. A portion of that spinal fluid is mixed with the stem cell solution which is then injected into back into the patient's spinal fluid, not the spinal cord. After the stem cells have been implanted, the patient will lie down in the recovery room for a few hours before returning to his or her hotel room. The lumbar puncture procedure is performed under local anesthesia for adults and general anesthesia for children. Under normal circumstances, procedures performed under local anesthesia are not painful.
Surgical ImplantationPrior to surgery, physical and functional damage will be assessed by computer tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET). Once the affected brain regions have been identified and mapped, the neurosurgeon will implant the stem cells using a high tech navigation system that allows the cells to be placed with high accuracy.
All surgical implantation procedures are performed under general anesthesia.
Following TreatmentPatients who are treated by lumbar puncture are required to stay in town on the day after their procedure for general safety purposes. They may return home on the fifth day.
Surgical implantation patients may leave upon discharge from the hospital, usually on the ninth or tenth day, depending upon how their recovery progresses.
Treatment ResultsFollow up statistics from 45 cerebral palsy patients completed in July 2009 show that close to 67% experienced improvements after stem cell therapy.
The mean age of the patients was 8.9 years, while the median age was 6 years. The oldest treated patient was 44 years of age. There was no apparent correlation between positive outcome and the number of stem cells administered.
The type of improvements reported include: decreased spasticity; better coordination; improved motor function, improved posture stability; better cognition resulting in communication improvements; gaining the ability to sit, stand or even walk unassisted.
Improved speech was observed in 40% of patients. 16.7% reported a decrease or even absence of epileptic seizures following treatment. About 20% showed improved cognition.
For complete results including more graphs, please view the complete July 2009 Cerebral Palsy Treatment Results.
For safety information on 350 patients treated by lumbar puncture, please view our Lumbar Puncture Safety Statistics (PDF file).
Patient StoriesRead what our patients have to say about their treatment:
Nicholas Schilling, 5 years old, Periventricular Leucomalacia
"…he is now training to stand with support…"
Christopher Giacobbe, 13 years old, Cerebral Palsy
"…he has begun talking in complete sentences…"
Myrthe Wallet, 6 years old, Myocarditis and Brain Hypoxia
"…Myrthe keeps getting better and better…"
Anneke van Iwaarden, 42 years old, Severe Oxygen Deficiency
"…for the first time in her life, Anneke was able to stand on her own…"
CostsStem cell implantation via lumbar puncture: 7,545 Euros (adults) - 9,000 Euros (children).
Minimally invasive surgical implantation of stem cells directly into the brain: 25,500 Euros.