Mumbai: Stem cell therapy offers ray of hope to a Kenyan child with autism

For the first time after 10 years, the patient has shown signs of improvement after cell based therapy

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Mike, a 12-year-old boy from Nairobi, Kenya was admitted under Dr Pradeep Mahajan, Regenerative Medicine Researcher in Mumbai, India with parental complaints of poor attention span, no eye contact, no social interaction, flapping of hands, an inability to point at objects, lack of functional independence, mouthing, babbling, and inability to speak clearly.

At the age of 3 years, Mike was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for which his parents had consulted many specialists, but no treatment helped Mike.

He was very hyperactive, would run out of school and bite himself. He could not make eye contact, was very poor in social interaction. Mike’s parents came to know about cell based therapy while searching on the internet, and read about Dr Pradeep Mahajan who has successfully treated many patients suffering from genetic disorders.

Dr Pradeep Mahajan, Regenerative Medicine Researcher says, “After seeing the Mike’s condition, 2 sessions of cell based therapy were suggested along with occupation and physical therapy. Following the session patient has shown positive improvements in eye contact, social behaviour, and speaking, and follows basic commands.”

Dr Mahajan said, “Cell based therapy in autism aims to address neurologic, gastrointestinal and immunologic disturbances. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) show promise in the management of autistic children, likely owing to their immunomodulatory capacities.”

He added, “Treatment of immune dysregulation ameliorates intestinal and systemic symptoms and neurologic function. MSCs also secrete anti-inflammatory cytokines and survival-promoting growth factors. These cells can also integrate into neural networks thereby restoring plasticity. Studies have shown that administration of MSCs improve some behavioural symptoms and function in autistic children.”

Autism is a neurodevelopment disorder accompanied by weak immune system and neuro-inflammation that occurs in early childhood.

Autism disorder is an irreversible condition; however, it can be managed by educational and medical interventions. Cell based therapy has been shown to improve blood perfusion in the brain; thus, may be effective in improving motor skills, social skills, and cognition in patients with autism spectrum disorder.

Mike’s mother says, “We are very thankful to Dr Pradeep Mahajan and his team as my child is now able to speak two letter words. He has started drawing, colouring, and his hyperactivity has reduced. Mike is now making eye contact also and is able to follow instructions.”