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Recent press coverage of Bailey Coates, born with after a stroke probably caused by some placenta getting into her blood stream and entering the brain, has raised interest in cord blood infusion treatment.
Bailey’s Mum had noticed she was making strange movements, which were later diagnosed as seizures caused by a stroke which had affected the left side of her brain. She was at risk of cerebral palsy as it was estimated that 25% of her brain had been damaged and without therapy she may not even walk or talk.
Umbilical cords contain stem cells that can be used in leukaemia treatment and are also being used in Alzheimer’s research, a condition which ran in Bailey's family, so fortunately her parents decided to bank her cord blood.
Once the stroke was diagnosed, her parents contacted Dr. Kurtzberg of Duke University, USA who has pioneered umbilical cord blood treatment for brain disease and injury. Bailey was accepted for treatment and began receiving infusions of her own cord blood cells.
It’s believed that the cord blood reduces brain inflammation, so attracting other stem cells already in the brain which begin repairing the damaged brain. They also encourage new blood vessel to grow which also aid the brain to repair its damage and then nerve cells make new links to other nerve cells so restoring the brain’s function.
Bailey has had 3 treatments so far and can now use both sides of her body. Learning to walk and talk, she is achieving all of the normal milestones for a healthy child of her age. Whilst the doctors cannot say for sure whether the cord blood infusions have contributed to her progress, they can definitely say she has more function than would be predicted based on her brain scans.
At Head Injury UK, our specialist brain injury solicitors welcome the potential developments in cord blood treatments for brain injury. Tragically, many people still suffer avoidable brain injury which cannot be treated with such good results, so they and their families are left to live with the long term consequences of a brain injury. If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury, then contact Clare Langford to see how we can help you or call us on 0800 073 0988.
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