Researchers at the Medical College of Georgia are conducting the first FDA-approved adult stem cell clinical trial in cerebral palsy. The trial, led by Dr. James Carroll, professor and chief of pediatric neurology in MCG School of Medicine, will investigate whether stem cells from umbilical cord blood can improve the quality of life for children with cerebral palsy. Umbilical cord blood is rich in adult-type stem cells, which can divide and morph into different types of cells throughout the body and have already shown published success in treating numerous diseases and injuries in patients.

Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg at Duke has done preliminary clinical work in this area and notes that in about 100 children, intravenous administration of autologous (the person's own) cord blood is safe and feasible. Her results are as yet unpublished, and she cautions that there are some hints that there may be some benefits but that its very, very difficult to successfully assess efficacy. Previous anecdotal reports have indicated benefits for treated children.

Benefits of cord blood stem cells vs. embryonic stem cells were recently reviewed by Harris in the British Journal of Haematology.