SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Newborn Possibilities Fund, a grant making program established by Cord Blood Registry (CBR), today announced it has provided a grant to the Memorial Hermann Foundation in collaboration with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital (UTHealth's children's teaching hospital). The UTHealth Medical School is conducting an innovative FDA-regulated clinical trial evaluating the use of a child's own cord blood stem cells as a potential medical intervention for traumatic brain injury. The grant will provide financial support to help with travel and other expenses for families with a child participating in the trial.
The study will include 10 children, ages 18 months to 17 years who have suffered moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) within the past 6-18 months. After trial eligibility has been confirmed, study participants will travel to Houston to undergo a medical history and physical exam, neuropsychiatric evaluation, DT-MRI imaging of the brain, and baseline laboratory evaluation. The participant's cord blood will be infused intravenously and they will be monitored as an in-patient for 24 hours, returning the following day for a final examination. Follow-up visits will occur back at UTHealth at 180 days, 1 year and 2 years post-infusion.
"This important clinical study will provide new insights into the potential of cord blood stem cells to help children recover from nerve tissue damage to the brain," said Heather Brown, vice president of scientific and medical affairs at CBR. "However, the study design requires a family to make trips at their own expense to the study center. The goal of The Newborn Possibilities Fund is to remove financial barriers that may prevent eligible children from participating in this cutting-edge research and receiving investigational treatments that may improve their quality of life."
The Newborn Possibilities Fund (NPF) was created to help advance clinical research investigating the use of a child's own cord blood stem cells as a treatment for conditions like cerebral palsy and traumatic brain injury. The NPF directs financial grants to non-profit organizations to help cover the cost of travel for families who have the chance to participate in FDA-regulated trials. The Fund is administered by Tides, a public charity, on behalf of CBR.
Patients who meet the inclusion criteria and are enrolled in the trial at UTHealth will be notified of the Newborn Possibilities Fund and have the opportunity to receive funds to use toward the cost of travel to Houston for the cord blood infusion procedure and required follow up visits.
"Our research helps to show that cell-based therapies are not science fiction. Preclinical models have demonstrated fascinating neurological preservation effects to really support these Phase 1 trials," said principal investigator Dr. Charles Cox, The Children's Fund, Inc. Distinguished Professor of Pediatric Surgery and director of the Pediatric Trauma Program at Children's Memorial Hermann.
A growing body of research has shown that infused stem cells help to initiate repair and induce healing in the brain. A recently completed Phase I study at UTHealth (results published in the journal Neurosurgery, March 2011), which investigated a bone-marrow stem cell therapy in children with acute traumatic brain injury, revealed positive safety results and led Dr. Cox to design this cord blood stem cell trial.
Through generous donations, the Newborn Possibilities Fund hopes to provide financial support for additional trials already underway at leading research universities across the country. For more information on the program or to donate, please visit http://www.newbornpossibilities.com/donate.
Tides partners with philanthropists, foundations, activists, and organizations across the United States and around the globe to promote economic justice, robust democratic processes, and the opportunity to live in a healthy and sustainable environment where human rights are preserved and protected.
A nonprofit founded in 1976, Tides provides an array of services that amplify the efforts of forward-thinking individuals and organizations. For more information, visit www.tides.org.
About Cord Blood Registry
Cord Blood Registry® (CBR) is the world's largest and most experienced family cord blood bank. The company has consistently led the industry in technical innovations and safeguards more than 375,000 cord blood collections for individuals and their families. CBR was the first family bank accredited by AABB and the company's quality standards have been recognized through ISO 9001:2008 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. Our research and development efforts are focused on helping the world's leading clinical researchers advance regenerative medical therapies. For more information, visit www.cordblood.com.
SOURCE Cord Blood Registry