HOUSTON – The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) has begun enrollment for the first Phase I safety study approved by the Food and Drug Administration to investigate the use of a child’s own umbilical cord blood stem cells for traumatic brain injury in children. The study is being performed in conjunction with Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital, UTHealth’s primary children’s teaching hospital.
The innovative study, which builds on UTHealth’s growing portfolio of research using stem cell-based therapies for neurological damage, is led by principal investigator Charles S. Cox, the Children’s Fund Distinguished Professor of Pediatric Surgery and Pediatrics at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, part of UTHealth, and director of the pediatric trauma program at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. It will enroll 10 children ages 18 months to 17 years who have umbilical cord blood banked with Cord Blood Registry (CBR) and have suffered moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). The study is not designed for acute care and will only enroll participants within 6-18 months of their injury.
Although the neurologic outcome for nearly all types of brain injury (with the exception of abuse) is better for children than adults, trauma is the leading cause of death in children, and the majority of the deaths are attributed to head injury.
“Using cord blood is a critical link in the next step of UTHealth’s programmatic approach to researching stem cell therapies for brain injury,” Cox said. “Implementing this novel therapy has required strong partnerships with Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and the CBR Center for Regenerative Medicine, and is possible through a critical infrastructure investment by the state of Texas and private philanthropy.”
To enroll in the study, parents or caregivers of patients who have suffered a traumatic brain injury should contact CBR and after consent is obtained, the information will be relayed to the UTHealth research group. If all qualifications are met, the patient will travel to Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.. The cells will be processed and intravenously infused. Patients will be followed at six months, one year and two years.
A recently completed Phase I study at UTHealth (publication in press), which investigated a bone-marrow stem cell therapy in children with acute traumatic brain injury, revealed positive safety results, Cox said.
The FDA-authorized protocol is specific to the standardized processing and storage protocol of CBR, making it the only family stem cell bank providing patients for the study.
“This study is at the forefront of research evaluating a child’s own cord blood stem cells’ ability to help facilitate the healing process after damage to nerve tissue in the brain,” said Heather Brown, vice president of scientific & medical affairs at Cord Blood Registry. “CBR is helping advance medical research for regenerative therapies by connecting the child whose family banked with CBR to appropriate researchers.”
UTHealth is also investigating stem cell therapy for acute stroke patients in an NIH-sponsored, Phase I study by Sean Savitz, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Neurology; and for acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) patients in a Phase II study led by Ali E. Denktas, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine.
About The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), the most comprehensive academic health system in The University of Texas System and the U.S. Gulf Coast region, is home to schools of biomedical informatics, biomedical sciences, dentistry, medicine, nursing and public health. It also includes a psychiatric hospital, multiple institutes and centers, a growing network of clinics and outreach programs in education and care throughout the region. The university’s primary teaching hospitals include Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital and Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital. Founded in 1972, its faculty, staff and students are committed to delivering innovative solutions that create the best hope for a healthier future.
About Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital
Children’s Memorial Hermann is a 240-bed hospital dedicated to pediatric and neonatal care with an additional 68 beds dedicated to women’s services. The hospital’s special compassion and healing expertise has distinguished it as one of the finest children’s hospitals in the nation. In partnership with the University of Texas Medical School, Children’s Memorial Hermann specialists provide care for more than 120,000 patient visits annually, including the tiniest premature infants, children and adolescents. Memorial Hermann takes a holistic approach to healthcare, offering programs and services that address the physical, social, psychological and spiritual aspects of well-being. An integrated health system, Memorial Hermann is known for world-class clinical expertise, patient-centered care, leading-edge technology and innovation. The system, with its exceptional medical staff and 20,000 employees, serves southeast Texas and the greater Houston community.
About Cord Blood Registry Center for Regenerative Medicine
Cord Blood Registry® (CBR®) is the world’s largest and most experienced stem cell bank. The company founded the CBR Center for Regenerative Medicine® to support and advance medical research in regenerative treatments and help to link client families with clinical researchers with trials currently in place or on the horizon. CBR has consistently led the industry in technical innovations and safeguards more than 350,000cord blood collections for individuals and their families. The company was the first family bank accredited by AABB and the company’s quality standards have been recognized through ISO 9001:2009 certification—the global business standard for quality. CBR has also released more client cord blood units for specific therapeutic use than any other family cord blood bank. For more information, visit www.cordblood.com.
Deborah Mann Lake
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