An image of a patient with a traumatic brain injury. The arrow points to the empty space previously filled by healthy tissue. Photo: Jmh649/Wikimedia Commons The use of bone marrow stem cells is safe in treating children with brain trauma, a team from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston determined.
The results of the clinical trial, featured in the journal Neurosurgery, focused on 10 children between the ages of 5 and 14 who received treatment shortly after arriving at the hospital with severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
The research team extracted bone marrow cells from the hip bone of each patient, separated and processed the stem cells, and injected them back into the patient. Using the patients' existing cells reduced the possibility of their immune systems attacking the manipulated cells.
Specifically, the researchers used bone-marrow-derived mononuclear cells. Bone marrow cells are known to help restore blood and immune system function.
After examining the patients each day during the six months following the procedure, the University of Texas scientists concluded their technique was safe. They reported no deaths and improved outcomes when compared to the results of typical cases of TBI.