Is It A Potential Cure for Autism?

By: Sanjana Kulkarni and Nithin Pillai


Autism is a developmental disability that usually starts to show symptoms during early childhood and impacts a person’s social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation. Having autism is defined by a set of behaviors that affects many people to varying degrees. In 2018, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released a report that states that one in every fifty-nine people are diagnosed with or display symptoms of autism. While people with autism go through treatment plans and are sometimes prescribed medication, all research indicating a cure has gone in vain. However, could the missing piece to this puzzle be STEM cells?


What Are Stem Cells?

Stem cells can potentially develop into many different cells in the body which makes them some of the most versatile cells in our bodies. Unlike blood cells, muscle cells, and liver cells, stem cells are not specialized and can therefore be used to treat many diseases that may have once been thought incurable.



How Could They Cure Autism?

Currently, many types of autism are treated through antibiotics, anti-inflammatory treatments, and a special type of oxygen treatment called hyperbaric oxygen. However, none of these treatments directly addresses the issues of oxygen deprivation and inflammation. Treating autism with stem cells, specifically, those from the umbilical cord will be effective because autism stems from different types of inflammation, especially inflammation in the brain and specific antibodies. Since the specific cells (HUCT cells) are immune system privileged, cell rejection is not an issue and the Human Leukocyte Antigen does not have to be matched, which makes it easier for more patients to receive treatment. In many clinical trials for other diseases, it has been proven that using stem cells from the umbilical cord reduces inflammation throughout the body. Decreasing inflammation through the body of an autism patient may alleviate symptoms of autism and help a person grow out of the disease.


Why Use Umbilical Cord Stem Cells?

Umbilical cord stem cells have the best anti-inflammatory activity, immune system modulating capacity, and its ability to stimulate regeneration can be closely monitored with ease, unlike other stem cells. Secondly, they can be administered several times over a couple of days, helping the treatments go faster. Lastly, Chemotherapy drugs do not need to be administered for the stem cells to work!



Sources

“What Is Autism?” Autism Society, 26 Mar. 2020, www.autism-society.org/what-is/.

Lindberg, Sara. “Can Autism Be Cured? And What You Can Do Right Now.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 25 Feb. 2019, www.healthline.com/health/can-autism-be-cured.

“Stem Cell Therapy for Autism || Stem Cell Treatment Information || Panama.” Stem Cell Institute, 25 June 2019, www.cellmedicine.com/stem-cell-therapy-for-autism/.

“Stem Cell Therapy Subdues Autism.” Global Stem Cells, 12 July 2017, globalstemcells.com/stem-cell-therapy-subdues-autism/.

-, Jack Carfagno, et al. “Top Potential Uses of Stem Cells to Treat Disease.” Docwire News, 3 May 2019, www.docwirenews.com/docwire-pick/future-of-medicine-picks/top-potential-uses-of-stem-cells-in-medicine/.

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