The use of autologous stem cell therapy in children after experiencing a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may help reduce the number of interventions needed to treat the child and keep him/her out of the danger zone. It may also help reduce the amount of time the child spends in neurointensive care.

Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center and Houston (UTHealth) Medical School performed the study, which appeared recently in Pediatric Critical Care Medicine.

A news release from the University of Texas Health Science Center and Houston (UTHealth) Medical School explains that the research team studied patient records of TBI patients at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital from 2000 to 2008, and divided them into two groups: those who received the autologous bone marrow stem cells as part of a pilot study, and those who did not.

The Pediatric Intensity Level of Therapy score was used to determine the degree of therapeutic intensity that was done to reduce the cranial pressure below the danger zone, the release continues.

Among those children who received the stem cell treatment, researchers saw a significant reduction in the Pediatric Level of Therapy score beginning at 24 hours post-treatment through the first week, according to the release.

The children who did not receive the stem cell treatments spent nearly twice as much time in neurointensive care than those who received the treatments – 15.6 days, on average, compared to 8.2 days.

“Everything we do to treat traumatic brain injury is aimed at reducing the pressure in the brain,” says the study’s principal investigator Charles S. Cox, Jr, MD. He is a 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,” Cox explains.

[Source(s): University of Texas Health Science Center and Houston (UTHealth) Medical School, Newswise]