In the future, new cell therapies could revolutionise the way we treat those with, or at risk of, brain injury, and therefore are an important priority for people with cerebral palsy and their families.
Stem cells are unique cells that can make copies of themselves, create different types of cells and help to repair and rebuild tissues – meaning they may be able to protect vulnerable brain cells and preserve their function or even support the regeneration of damaged brain cells.
Our Regenerative Medicine team are playing a leading role in stem cell research, laying the groundwork in demonstrating the safety and efficacy of stem cells as a future treatment for cerebral palsy and helping to accelerate new stem cell therapies into clinical trials.
In 2022, Cerebral Palsy Alliance played a vital role in Australia's first-ever clinical trial of umbilical cord blood stem cells as a treatment for cerebral palsy
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What we're working on:
The CPA Stem Cell Reference Group
The CPA Stem Cell Reference Group brings together people with cerebral palsy, their families and supporters with researchers to help shape the work we are doing in stem cell therapies and other advanced therapeutics. This group provides valuable input to decisions about research goals, questions and methods by contributing their ideas and lived experience. Find out at CP Quest
The PREMSTEM Project
PREMSTEM is a €9M research project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The PREMSTEM team is an international collective of world-leading clinicians, researchers, stakeholder advocacy groups and an industry partner with well-established experience in neonatology and drug development. The PREMSTEM project aims to develop a new regenerative stem cell therapy to repair the brain damage caused by premature birth, also known as encephalopathy of prematurity.
The NEOSTeM Trial
Working to establish Australia’s first cell therapy clinical trial for babies with a stroke. This study is a large collaborative effort across neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) to assess the safety of a mesenchymal stem cells and understand how we can better protect the brain after injury.
Tele-neuromodulation clinical trial
A world-first trial investigating the safety and feasibility of a form of non-invasive brain stimulation, called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), delivered to children with CP in their homes. This trial has the potential to change the way we provide treatment to children with CP on a global scale.
Umbilical cord blood for CP
We are dedicated to enabling access to new treatments once proven safe and effective. Cord blood is the most well studied cell therapy for CP in clinical trials and our projects in this space focus on clinician education, consumer engagement, designing the next phases of research and enabling access.
Stem cell education/communication
We are committed to producing evidence-based, quality, engaging stem cell and regenerative medicine content for the CP community, to inform, raise awareness and answer questions people with CP and their families may have about stem cell treatments.
TRANSMIT: multifaceted knowledge TRANslation Strategy iMprovIng funcTion in children and youth with cerebral palsy
An international partnership funded via an NHMRC Partnerships grant, TRANSMIT will aid translation of the findings of our broader research group and collaborators into practice. This work aims to ensure that people with CP, the clinicians that provide their care, and the policymakers that fund their care, can all benefit from new research discoveries.
Advanced therapeutics research
Our team is investigating a number of other interventions for the treatment of CP including devices, pharmaceuticals and biologics. Watch this space for future updates!
Completed Collaborative projects:
The SCUBI-CP trial
An Australian-first study has found collecting and storing cells from a baby’s umbilical cord and later transferring them to a sibling who has cerebral palsy has been found to be safe.
Neural Stem Cell Acceptability Survey
A survey of people in the Australian cerebral palsy community to better understand the acceptability of NSC treatment, which may one day offer potential as a regenerative treatment for conditions like cerebral palsy.
In March 2020, Cerebral Palsy Alliance and Research Australia co-hosted a public event featuring a panel of experts discussing the latest in research about stem cells for the brain. During this event, CPA researchers conducted a survey which found overwhelming support for stem cell research for neurological conditions.