Stem cell transplant can help kids with autism says expert
Tolulope stated this in a statement in commemoration of The World Autism Day Lagos.
According to him, autism spectrum disorder is a condition related to brain development that impacts how a person perceives and socialises with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication.
He noted that the disorder also includes limited and repetitive patterns of behaviour.
Tolulope said there has been evidence of an increase in the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder and knowledge about the disorder in other parts of the world.
He stressed that one of the major practicals as well as ethical difficulties in identifying children with autism spectrum disorder in Africa, lies in the general lack of appropriate services and inadequate standard of available educational and medical infrastructure.
Highlighting factors that may indicate that a child is at risk for an autism spectrum disorder, he said by six months, there will be few or no big smiles or other warm, joyful and engaging expressions with limited or no eye contact. While by nine months, there will be little or no back-and-forth sharing of sounds, smiles or other facial expressions.
He added that by 12 month, there will be little or no babbling, little or no back-and-forth gestures such as pointing, showing, reaching or waving and little or no response to name. But by 16 months, very few or no words and by 24 months, very few or no meaningful, two-word phrases (not including imitating or repeating.
Tolulope, a Molecular Medicine and Genetics Expert, pointed out that at any age, there will be loss of previously acquired speech, babbling or social skills, avoidance of eye contact, difficulty understanding other people’s feelings, persistent repetition of words or phrases (echolalia), resistance to minor changes in routine or surroundings, restricted interests, repetitive behaviors (flapping, rocking, spinning, and so on) unusual and intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and/or colors.
The director stressed that a major milestone in the treatment and cure of Autism is stem cell therapy, which represents the great promise for the future of molecular medicine. The progression of several diseases can be slowed or even blocked by stem cell transplantation.
“Stem cells are a group of cells that can keep self-renewal and at the same time give rise to terminal functional adult cells. Among them, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) exist in most of the mesenchymal tissues such as bone marrow, adipose tissue, and umbilical cord.
“MSC is the most popular cell type in regenerative medicine because, on top of their potential to treat any type of inflammation, they have also been considered to be “immune privileged” Being immune-privileged means the cells do not trigger the patient’s immune system to recognize them as foreign.
“Overall, MSC have an excellent safety record, and over the past decade tens of thousands of patients have received MSC from unrelated donors without experiencing a graft versus host reaction to MSC injections or infusions,” he said.
According to him, the adult stem cells used to treat autism at the Stem Cell Institute come from human umbilical cord tissue (allogeneic mesenchymal).
Tolulope stressed that presently Mesenchymal Stem Cell transplant is possible in Nigeria and it has been successful so far by.
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