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Stem Cell Therapy for Autism

Stem cells are used for a variety of treatments. We did stem cell therapy (SCT) for autism, which also led to epilepsy healing. Following our success with epilepsy, the institute that treated us also began treatment for epilepsy as the central illness. In this post we’ll elaborate a little on the source of the stem cells of the kind we received, and you can see selected photos from the trip to Moscow in the winter of 2019, and from the Swiss Medica treatment.

*Attention!* We shared our personal experience and knowledge, based on information we received from the doctors who gave us the treatment, and backed up articles that exist freely online. We are not experts in the field, and cannot commit that you will have success in the treatment as we have experienced. For an assessment for success, you will need to contact an expert. We have experienced success, and strongly believe in the treatment. This post is in no manner an obligation that this treatment be suitable for your case. If you choose to do such treatment, you will need to make a choice for yourself.*

What are stem cells and how are they collected

Stem cells exist in various tissues in our body, they normally act in cell multiplication, but have additional abilities when introduced artificially at high concentrations. Their main function in neurology is to fight inflammation, but there are other hypothesized functions, such as neuron regeneration or neurotransmitter activation. Stem cells can also be used in other fields, for example to repairing damaged tissues.

How cord blood is gathered from the umbilical cord

Immediately after the baby’s birth, and while the placenta is still in the mother’s body, the midwife draws the umbilical cord blood from the umbilical cord, and store it in a specialized container for preservation, if the parents bought such a unit in advance. Cord blood, like most human tissues already blood has all the usual mechanisms of identification for the blood. Cord blood preservation units need to be pre-purchased by cord blood banks such as Taburit or Talachaim, in Israel.

How are stem cell produced from placenta and the umbilical cord

When the placenta is removed from the mother’s body, an institute that produces stem cells (e.g. Pluristem in Israel, or Swiss Medica in Russia) can take the placenta and umbilical cord, with the mother’s consent, and in a sophisticated process done in the laboratory, produce the same stem cells from the tissues.

The major benefit for this source of stem cells, comes from their lack of genetic markers (HLA). The placenta and umbilical cord are inert, in order to allow the transfer of nutrients from mother to fetus. They do not carry the genetic markers of the mother or the baby. This means that for medicinal purposes, clinics can collect human stem cell rich tissues, that would in most cases be thrown away, and process stem cells before treatment without having to check the genetic match between donor and patient.

Other stem cell sources

Many clinics collect stem cell rich tissues from the patient himself/herself. These can be sourced from fat or bone marrow. The patient has to go through an invasive tissue extraction, wait for the cells to be processed and expanded, then have the tissues reintroduced.

The main benefit for these sources, are that they are not as morally disputed as birthing product tissues.

Another source that comes with a warning. At some clinics, which I believe are mostly closed, there were attempts to use embryonic stem cells. If you find a place that advertises this type of treatment, avoid at all cost, and report it. Embryonic cells are dangerous, and immoral. They cause teratomas. Only go to places that use: placenta, umbilical, cord blood, fat, or bone marrow.

What can stem cells do?

There is virtually no end of studies found around this subject – from manufacturing whole organs from stem cells to aiding recovery from healing difficult wounds and even preventing artificial joint transplantation by intra-joint injections of these cells.

In the coming years stem cells will star in more and more research and treatment programs.

How stem cells help neurological problems

Contact a clinic that treats with stem cells, present your medical records, include all diagnosis, and they will evaluate whether the treatment can suit you. If you get a positive answer, which might look something like this: “We believe you can get a better quality of life with the therapy, it’s worth a try.” If you get such an answer, the doctors assessed that the stem cells have a mechanism that can help. It depends on the disease. Usually the main mechanism in the brain, is fighting an inflammation processes. Stem cells are also able to stimulate the connections between neurons, and possibly regenerate neurons as well. The probability of success is higher when there is an inflammation processes in the brain.

When a child receives stem cell therapy for autism, doctors try to assessing where the stem cells are going to focus, by evaluating the medical file and blood tests. However, there are between 30% to 15% of patients who do not respond to treatment. Clinics usually screen patients in advance if they think there will be no success from the treatment.

Stem cell therapy for autism – placenta derived instead of cord blood

Our personal journey towards stem cell therapy for autism began to take accelerate in January 2019.

Our eldest son was 5 years old, and he was very sick. His epilepsy endangered him and as a result, his autism got very bad. We submitted a request to about 100 different studies around the world, and we were rejected or we didn’t even get a response from most of them. The Duke University study put us on a waiting list. However, the dose of cord blood, taken from his little brother about two and a half years before, was no longer relevant, because it was getting too small for the weight he was in, and the wait for their plan was just too long.

So we tried every connection we had. We called the head of our cord blood bank, Amnon Peltz, and he gave us colleagues’ e-mails around the world. We wrote to everyone, and we ended up finding two places that might work for us. One of them was a hospital in Panama. We wrote them and asked: “will you give our son cord blood and fast?”

New sources for Stem cells

And they said no! They only give placenta derived stem cell therapy for autism. No cord blood therapy.

“What do you mean?” I asked. In all my years as a nurse, this term never came up.

Luckily they were available by phone. We called Panama and got an explanation. Now that everything was clear to us, and we didn’t have any other options left at that point, so we agreed. Flying to Panama in May!

A few days later, and everything was closed. Hagai and I began preparations for a flight of about 15 hours not including waiting at a transit station, with a cute child who doesn’t function in any way and eats almost only pedicures. We started looking for a flight, making a list of equipment, and raising money towards quite a expense to say the least.

A cinematically timed e-mail

Then we got an e-mail from Swiss Medica. “We have received your son’s medical records,” it said, “here is the Stem cell therapy plan for autism. You can book an appointment in as early as two weeks, to our Moscow branch.”

We were shocked.

Moscow? We were already ready for a fifteen hour nightmare flight (plus layover), with our son to Panama!

So like every nurse in Israel, I have colleagues who grew up in Moscow (one day I’ll find out how is it that every department I’ve worked in has a nurse from there). I asked her about the clinic. She did a favor, and made a phone call to a friend who lives there. She said it is a well-known and expensive clinic. And it was confirmed that the place is good.

That night we tied loose ends. We bought plane tickets, called a head nurse in charge my department (a good man who just passed away, and despite all the craziness, never held it against me. Riyadh, in heaven I’ll pay you for it!), And he authorized leave for that week, although I’m pretty sure he thought I was crazy, everyone else did too.

First flight to Russia

On a Saturday night, two weeks later, we boarded a flight to Moscow. I explained to the ground stewardess that we had to sit in the front, and I showed he all the medical equipment including every permit for a disabled child.

We traveled with a reputable bag of medicines for any events, including resuscitation equipment, spasm cessation equipment, never-ending epilepsy medications, and more and more medical supplies. We were dying of fear of something happening on the flight. Both us and the crew kept checking that everything was okay.

Still shaking with fear but feeling relieved, we got off the plane. The flight went smoothly and no seizures were observed. He slept with the help of the sleep medication, and was still hazy at 6 AM, when we arrived in cold and snowy Moscow.

Zero-degree hike. The kid is jet lagged

Sunday – Arrival at the clinic

At the airport we were met by the translator and the driver, that took us to the car, and brought us to the clinic. In the clinic everything looks clean and shiny. The staff who spoke mostly Russian was nice. The translator explained that because it’s Sunday, we will only meet the team of experts on the next day. They let us settle down in the room, and in the meantime they took blood from the kid for blood tests. (Swiss Medica Moscow has accommodations in the clinic)

Then we were offered to get some rest, and eat and then the translator took us to Moskvarium (Moscow aquarium). We didn’t really know how to digest the snow in mid-March (you have to travel to Hermon mountain in Israel to maybe see snow in the winter) . Or the fact that it’s awfully hot indoors (we felt like we were in an oven, and there was no thermostat), and it’s very cold outside. But it was fun. We didn’t expect to have fun, because the medical experience in Israel is more “sit and wait your turn” and not let’s go hang out.

The translator took the boy to see the killer whale at the aquarium

Monday – Meeting with the medical staff

The next morning – it turns out that in Moscow the morning doesn’t start before 9:30. In comes A nice, patient man named Dr. Mikheev. He explained everything about stem cell therapy for autism. He let us signs some forms, and did a very good job of calming us down. We were shaking with fear. I told him no one believed we could go there. Everyone told us we’d be back with a body bag. And that it doesn’t make sense that we’re even going there for medical treatment, because in Israel is a place where people go to for innovative medical treatments. He just smiled and said that everything was going to be okay, and that we don’t need worry.

We went out with the boy to the Avia Park Mall. Let me tell you! I wish we had in the play parks like those here.

Just one of the ball pools at Gymboree Times.

Tuesday – Day of Treatment

The next morning, they gave the boy a shot of dormicum for sedation. A doctor and nurse monitored him, and in with a slow drip he finally got a dose of stem cells. It was inside a bottle, like a pre-prepared paracetamol dose, administered via an IV line. The boy took a leisurely nap, and the medical staff checked every few minutes that there was no fever or chills. Everything went smoothly, and after two hours of good sleep he woke up, the IV line was pulled out of the vein, and that was it. That’s stem cell therapy for autism, about 30 minutes of IV.

Waiting for the treatment to end in a hot room

Wednesday – Release and surprising announcement

The next day we received a release letter, but we still stayed another day for observation, because we, the parents were hysterical and insisted. It was possible to board a flight at noon, but instead we scheduled the morning flight the next day.

In general, the whole stay was very pleasant. The place felt like a hotel: clean, tidy, with good room service, and a personal cook who very, very much endeavored to understand what our special needs were as Jews and for a child with autism (for those who keep kosher, can order catering from Chabad house, kosher restaurants on site or buy from the kosher mini-market).

The doctor tried to explain about all the different types of treatments that are done in the clinic, besides the stem cell therapy for autism, and where we might see improvement. We also learned that there is a good chance that the first thing which will be affected is the epilepsy.

“What??? We came here after every other institute rejected us because of epilepsy!” I told the doctor.

And he just shrugged, and said, “I really don’t understand why. I’ve seen significant improvements in epilepsy and autism patients, wait and see.”

First Results – Epilepsy Disappearance

And so it was. In the two weeks after the treatment, we noticed that there hasn’t been any visible epileptic activity. Like any good mother, I reported to our neurologist that has been accompanying us since the diagnosis. We both had our doubts, so after the second round was done in August 2019, we went and performed an EEG test. The test was clean!

A little shocked, we decided together to start to decrementally lower medication, and after a few months and retest. Believe me, in my life I’ve never been more afraid of stopping medication like this. And from October 2019 the child is drug-free for epilepsy! There are no seizures and no fights over taking medication.

Effects of Stem Cell Therapy on Autism for Our Child

The first treatment occurred in March 2019. Just in before his was reevaluation in the child development center. (In Israel autism has to be reevaluated every few years until adulthood) . He was five-and-a-half, but it was estimated that his functional age was around the age of 18 months. At the time he was still in diapers, although by then we were working on habitual learning, so he wasn’t wearing them during the day (lots of accidents and lots of laundry). He was a very picky eater, and got a lot of pediasure. Sleeping was never for more than three hours at a time. He barely had any communicational vocabulary (yes/no, numbers and letters), and couldn’t really use AAC.

At the end of April, the reevaluation started and it appeared he was going to be evaluated with a mental disability in addition to autism. But then his functional age estimate improved, within two months, to a functional age ranging from 2 1/2 to 3 years old. We didn’t believe it. He no longer meets the definition of mental disability. Now he’s just autistic.

Another year in preschool

A week after we got back from the transplant, he had a committee evaluation for another year of preschool. We came with him to the committee and outside the committee doors, we met his preschool teacher. He went up to his teacher, looked her in the eye and said, “Hey Shiraz,” gave her a high-five, and turned around like nothing unusual had happened here.

We went into the committee room, the teacher raised her head and told everyone in the committee, “He just told me, ‘Hey!’ Three years he didn’t say anything to me and now? ‘Hey!’ And he even said my name!!!” We stood there with all the committee members, and we were all stunned. The boy for his part got another year of preschool.

Then we started keeping a diary. Every time the kid said something new, we put it in the diary. At the end of each month, we were asked to send a report to a clinic in Russia. It’s exhausting! It takes us over an hour fill out the report. Partly because there’s a lot to write, and also because we cry every time from the excitement. We are astounded every time we go back in the diary, and you see all the wonderful things we never imagined he’d do.

One year plus two treatments later

A little over a year later. The boy has undergone three treatment sessions. We’re not going to make things pretty. Our son will forever stay on the spectrum. He has gone from from very low functioning to moderate. Who would have imagined at all, that he can play with his siblings and be interested in different things. That he can verbally explain to us what he wants to or doesn’t want to eat. Point and report when he’s in pain. He still has a hard time in a lot of areas, but his placement has changed, and in a few weeks he’ll be going to a communication classroom at a regular school. Today he managed to tell me, that he played board game with another kid in school.

We look back at these two lunatics, and say a big thank you to ourselves. We’ve managed to overcome fear, and that’s why our child has a new path in life.

And to you readers, know that there are no miracles. When you do stem cell therapy for autism, it buys you a grace period, where the brain is more free to learn. If you don’t take advantage of it and work hard, nothing much will happen. In the first treatment, what stood out was the disappearance of epilepsy. And yet we will never know if it’s permanent or temporary disappearance. It’s likely that in adolescence we’ll know. Considering there were doctors who told us he wouldn’t make it to 6, we’re happy even if we can keep him until then.

Treatment for Epilepsy

With regard to epilepsy treatment, there’s not a lot of reading material, it’s an even less studied field than autism. It worked for us. but if that’s what your kid needs, you need to check with doctors who specialize in stem cell treatments, and see whether it can help in your case, or not. We really don’t understand the science behind how stem cells work, perhaps you’ll be able to get an answer for yourself.

It’s our journey. It’s crazy to think this all happened in such a short time. We will mention again that we are not medical officials, and do not recommend anything. We are only sharing what happened to us. Below you’ll find the link to the clinic in Moscow. They’re overloaded and answer slowly but they were good for us. And you will be able to find recommendations to other clinics in our recommendations page. Based on the conversations we had with those clinics and the experiences of people we helped reach them.

If you are wondering, then yes, Stem cell therapy is very expensive. The price rage varies a lot. Some clinics offer additional services and therapies together with the SCT.

Where to Do Stem Cell Treatment for Autism Epilepsy and Other Diseases

If you live in Israel, and you happen to have preserved your child’s cord blood at birth, you can sign up for the autism or CP trial at Sheba medical center.

An experimental treatment for Parkinson’s, MS, and ALS might also be available at Rambam medical center.

Epilepsy treatment is much harder to find with this technology, and can only be found at a select few clinics around the world.

To save you some effort, we will gladly hand over the information we’ve collected about this treatment and where to get it. We can help with administrative assistance for signing up. If you need your medical file translated from Hebrew, we are very experienced in this field.

For more details, contact us via email, WhatsApp or Facebook messenger.

*Attention!* We shared our personal experience and knowledge, based on information we received from the doctors who gave us the treatment, and backed up articles that exist freely online. We are not experts in the field, and cannot commit that you will have success in the treatment as we have experienced. For an assessment for success, you will need to contact an expert. We have experienced success, and strongly believe in the treatment. This post is in no manner an obligation that this treatment be suitable for your case. If you choose to do such treatment, you will need to make a choice for yourself.*

We’d love to get comments from you about your experience after treatment.

Good luck Shira

4 thoughts on “Stem Cell Therapy for Autism

  1. כל הכבוד לכם ולילד
    מאחלת לכם בהצלחה בהמשך ..
    כיום גם ידוע לפי מחקרים שגם תזונת קיטו עןזרת לילדים

    1. ניסינו בעבר זה לא עזר בכלום לצערינו. סטטיסטית לכשלושים אחוז זה עוזר.

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