Transplantation of bone marrow stem cells may be used in the treatment of severe traumatic brain injuries in children. This new method was described in the March issue of Neurosurgery. The study reports that transplantation of patient’s bone marrow cells is effective and causes no complications. It opens the way for further research to illuminate how stem cells intensify brain recovery after severe traumatic injury.
The research was focused on ten children 5 to 14 years old with severe traumatic brain injuries. Patients with high risk of death were left out. Stem cells from the bone marrow were infused intravenously into the children within 48 hours after the injury. These stem cells were obtained from the patient’s hip bone during safe surgery.
All children survived. The procedure of collecting stem cells didn’t affect negatively blood circulation in general and in the brain particularly. The evaluation of the patients’ state showed no harmful consequences of stem cells transplantation.
As the study was on "phase I" it was aimed only to assess the safety and feasibility of stem cells harvesting and transplantation. Nevertheless, half a year later health of all the children estimably improved. Seven of the ten young patients had no disability at all or had its mild forms. Usually children with severe brain trauma have serious complications. Currently there are no efficient therapies to provide brain repair after injury in children.
The study demonstrated that bone marrow stem cell transplantation is safe and accessible. The results of the treatment happened to be promising though their investigation wasn’t the goal of the research. Bone marrow stem cells may improve brain recovery after trauma. The mechanism of this process still needs further research. Stem cells may support proliferation of brain cells or modify the body's response to the trauma.