Stem Cell Treatment for Spina Bifida

HBI Blog / Stem Cell Treatment for Spina Bifida
Stem Cell

Doctors witnessed a historic moment in healthcare when three babies were born after receiving the world’s first Stem Cell treatment for Spina Bifida. This was made possible by a landmark clinical trial at UC Davis Health, with the help of Emily, the mother of the baby who volunteered to be a part of the first human trial.

Stem Cell treatment for Spina Bifida is a unique treatment administered in developing a fetus while still in the womb.

Brief History of Spina Bifida

It is also known as myelomeningocele and develops during the early stages of pregnancy when spinal tissue fails to fuse properly. A variety of lifelong cognitive, mobility, urinary and gastrointestinal impairments can result from this developmental defect. Every year, it affects 1,500 to 2,000 kids in the United States. The diagnosis method includes Ultrasound.

The Big Day 

After multiple trials on animal models, the day of the delivery (the first human trial) finally arrived leaving the doctors both excited and terrified.

Emily was under general anesthesia while doctors made a small incision in her uterus. Then the fetus was floated up to the point of the uterine incision to expose the spine and detect the Spina bifida defect.

Ever so carefully, the doctors placed the stem cell patch over the fetus’s exposed spine, making a historic step. After allowing the tissue to regenerate, the doctors finally declared the surgery a success.

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