Autism and Cord Blood

Video [Courtesy CNN]: Autism & Cord Blood Phase I Clinical Trial

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Autism is a disorder that affects the brain's normal development of social and communication skills and appears in the first 3 years of life.103 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a range of disorders characterized by “persistent deficits in social communication and social interaction across multiple contexts and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities.” Although the exact causes of Autism Spectrum Disorder are still unknown, research suggests that both genes and environment play important roles.102

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In May 2014, the CDC published updated prevalence statistics. The data presented by the CDC reports that 1 in 68 children are identified with Autism Spectrum Disorder. And the data also showed that ASD is almost five times more common among boys than girls: 1 in 42 boys versus 1 in 189 girls.101  

Cord Blood’s Role in ASD Research

Properties of cord blood stem cells may address multiple causes of degeneration and dysfunction associated with ASD. Properties include the ability to:

  • Rebuild - Neural pathway remodeling, neuroprotective.120

  • Support Endogenous Repair - Increased perfusion, neovascularization.121

  • Modulate Environment- Immune modulation, anti-inflammatory. 122

Phase II Clinical Trial Underway

Duke University Medical Center has moved into a Phase II Clinical Trial of cord blood infusion for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The goal of the study is to determine if there is a benefit from an intravenous infusion of autologous (the child’s own) or unrelated donor cord blood to children with ASD. Visit clinicaltrials.gov to learn more about the study and requirements for participation.