Disability Scoop reports that researchers may have found a way to utilize skin cells to treat cerebral palsy.
The treatment involves using skin cells and actually turning them into brain cells, which could allow physicians to treat the brain damage that actually causes cerebral palsy.
According to the reporting, the researchers have enjoyed success in trying this technique on mice. They are now interested in moving on to trials involving human cells. This type of a treatment is called cellular reprogramming. It involves taking a very common type of cell in the body, and essentially switching the programming of that cell so it becomes a different type of cell. In this case, the researchers are interested in turning skin cells, which are obviously very common, into brain cells.
Why it Could Work
Despite the treatments available for cerebral palsy today, the only thing that physicians can really treat are the symptoms of the condition. Muscle spasms, difficulty walking and other issues can sometimes be lessened in their severity by utilizing surgeries, drugs and other therapies.
For a child born with cerebral palsy, however, the cause of their condition is much deeper than anything that can be treated by modern medical science. The symptoms are the direct results of brain damage. In people with severe cerebral palsy, they may lack the ability to control any of their major muscle groups, requiring them to need assistance with just about every type of task, including eating. Some people suffer mild cerebral palsy symptoms that may present themselves only intermittently, but the cause of the symptoms is the same as it is in the severest cases of cerebral palsy.
This treatment could, theoretically, allow physicians to actually repair the brain damage that causes cerebral palsy. If this could be done, physicians would be able to move on from treating the symptoms of cerebral palsy and actually treat the cause of the neurological disorder. Of course, this type of therapy would have powerful implications for people with other brain disorders, including those caused by disease, trauma and other causes.
While this type of treatment is still really in its infancy, there have been notable breakthroughs in cerebral palsy treatments of all types over the past several years. From more precise surgeries that can target and sever nerve tissue that is damaged, to treatments that actually could repair the human brain, there is much more hope for cerebral palsy sufferers today than there has ever been.