Results of a clinical trial released today in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine indicate that a combination of stem cell therapy and educational intervention can significantly help children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Social communication, language, and daily skills improved markedly within 18 months after stem cell transplantation. Conversely, repetitive behaviors and hyperactivity decreased remarkably.”
Nguyen Thanh Liem, M.D., Ph.D., study’s corresponding author
Dr. Liem, director of Vinmec Research Institute of Stem Cell and Gene Technology in Hanoi, is internationally recognized for his work in applying stem cells for different neurologic conditions (including cerebral palsy due to asphyxia, cerebral palsy related to neonatal icterus, cerebral palsy due to intracranial hemorrhage in neonatal period). He and his Vinmec team collaborated with researchers at Stanford University and Keele University on the two-year study.
ASD affects more than 18 out of every 1,000 children over the age of 8, according to the U.S.-based Centers for Disease Control. It involves a complex spectrum of disorders characterized by a deficit of social communication and interaction, restricted interest and repetitive verbal and nonverbal behavior. Children with ASD also commonly experience sleep disorders, seizures and gastrointestinal difficulties. While its cause has yet to be determined, many factors — including genetic mutations, immune dysregulation, decreased blood flow in the brain, exposure to maternal antibodies during pregnancy and weak functional connectivity across brain regions — appear to contribute to ASD’s development. Multiple approaches including behavioral therapy, occupational