The use of cell therapy after traumatic brain injury (TBI) in
children can reduce the amount of therapeutic interventions needed to
treat the patient, as well as the amount of time the child spends in
neurointensive care, according to research by The University of Texas
Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School.
The study appeared in the most recent issue of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine.
TBI patients at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital
from 2000 to 2008 were divided into two groups: those who received
autologous bone marrow stem cells as part of a pilot study and those who
did not. Researchers used the Pediatric Intensity Level of Therapy
score to determine the degree of therapeutic intensity that was done to
reduce the cranial pressure below the danger zone.
For those who received the stem cells, researchers noted a
significant reduction in the score beginning at 24 hours post-treatment
through the first week. Patients who did not receive the stem cells
spent nearly twice as much time in neurointensive care – 15.6 days
compared to 8.2.
“Everything we do to treat traumatic brain injury is aimed at reducing the pressure in the brain,” said Charles S. Cox, Jr.,
M.D., principal investigator, professor and the George and Cynthia
Mitchell Distinguished Chair in Neurosciences at UTHealth and
co-director of the Texas Trauma Institute
at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center. “We can measure the pressure
and there are medications to reduce the water in the brain but all of
those have risks associated with them, such as renal failure and kidney
problems. Our study showed that with stem cell therapy, we need to do
less intervention for a shorter period of time for the patient.”