Autism (Neurological | Umbilical Cord Blood)

Autism is a spectrum disorder known to be caused by certain gene factors involved in brain development and early life environment. It is more common in boys than girls, with signs and symptoms appearing from age 2 to 3 years. It can be frequently associated with intellectual issues.

Some Facts About Autism:
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates autism’s prevalence as 1 in 68 children in the United States. This includes 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls.
  • An estimated 50,000 teens with autism become adults – and lose school-based autism services – each year.
  • Around one third of people with autism remain nonverbal.
  • Around one third of people with autism have an intellectual disability.
  • Certain medical and mental health issues frequently accompany autism. They include gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures, sleep disturbances, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and phobias.
Clinical Trials

Researchers at the Duke University Medical Center are conducting a program of research to evaluate the efficacy of autologous and allogeneic cord blood for improving outcomes of individuals with autism spectrum disorder.  The first study examined the safety and efficacy of using autologous cord blood to treat young children with autism spectrum disorder and assessed the feasibility of various outcome measures to determine which measures can be used as primary and secondary endpoints for a randomized phase 2 clinical trial (DukeACT) that is currently underway. Cord blood cells can be collected from the placenta and stored for future usage in cord blood banks for cellular therapies or blood stem cell transplantation. Previous research has shown that cord blood cells can help reduce inflammation and signal cells to help repair damaged brain areas. The goal of this study was to investigate whether similar success will be shown in children with ASD. The results of this study have been published in Stem Cells Translational Medicine. You can view the publication here. 1

For more information on the Duke University Medical Center Autism study, click here.