Stem Cell Therapy for Autism – And how we found a cure for refractory epilepsy

Stem cells are used for a variety of treatments. We did stem cells therapy 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.

This is an account of personal experience and knowledge. We report information we received from the doctors who gave us the treatment. There are many research articles that support this treatment.

We have experienced success, and strongly believe in the treatment. However, we cannot commit that you will have success in the treatment as we have experienced.

For an assessment for success, you will need to consult with the medical staff. Contact us before you reach out to Swiss Medica, for a discount on the treatment.

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. One main function in neurological recovery is to fight inflammation. 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

The blood is stored in a specialized container for preservation, if the parents bought such a unit in advance.

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.

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 perinatal tissues like the placenta and the umbilical cord

When the placenta is removed from the mother’s body, the placenta, umbilical cord and amniotic fluid can be collected. An institute like Swiss Medica, will get the mother’s consent to preform the collection. The perinatal tissues will be collected only in C-section births. This is to insure sterile conditions.

A sophisticated process is preformed in the laboratory to produce mesenchymal stem cells from the perinatal tissues.

The major benefit for perinatal stem cells, comes from their lack of genetic markers (HLA). The amniotic fluid, placenta and umbilical cord are inert. They buffer between the mother and baby.

The fetus’s blood draws nutrients through the placenta. The blood streams don’t mix.

This allows the transfer of nutrients from mother to fetus without the immune systems reacting to each other. This is how a surrogate can carry a fetus that has no genetic match.

Since the perinatal tissues do not carry the genetic markers of the mother or the baby, this allows the treatment without having to find genetic matching between donors and patients.

Other stem cell sources

Many clinics collect stem cell rich tissues from the patients themselves. 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 perinatal tissues.

Avoid Embryonic stem cells

Another source that comes with a warning.

Some clinic there were attempts to use embryonic stem cells.

are dangerous, and immoral.

Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent and can cause teratomas. A type of cancer that can spread all over the body.

If you find a place that advertises this type of treatment, avoid at all cost.

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 healing and recovery from difficult wounds
  • and even preventing artificial joint transplantation by intra-joint injections of stem cells

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

How stem cells help neurological problems

  1. Contact a clinic that does stem cells therapy for autism or other neurological conditions.
  2. Present your medical records. Include all medical history, even if it doesn’t seem relevant.
  3. The medical team will evaluate whether the treatment can suit you.
  4. A positive answer might look like this: “We believe you can get a better quality of life with the therapy. It’s worth a try.”

If you get a positive answer, the doctors assessed that stem cells have a mechanism that can help the condition you are looking to treat. It depends on the condition.

If the response you receive is too positive, consider looking more into the clinic. You wouldn’t want to go to a place .that tries to deceive clients

Possible stem cells therapeutic mechanisms

  • It might be fighting an inflammation processes
  • stimulate the connections between neurons
  • re-energize faulty neurons
  • correct hormonal balance
  • correct the digestive system

There are a few theories about how stem cells therapy functions for autism. Many focus on the levels of inflammation present in the bloodwork.

When a child receives stem cells therapy for autism, different clinics will preform different pre-treatment tests. The doctors will try to assess where the stem cells are going to focus. They will evaluate the medical file, together with blood tests or other tests.

There are between 30% to 15% of patients who do not respond to treatment. Many clinics usually screen out patients they think will not have gains.

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

Our personal journey towards stem cells therapy for autism, suddenly accelerated in January 2019.

Our eldest son, Dolev was 5 years old. He was very sick. His epilepsy endangered him and as a result, his autism got very bad.

We already knew about the stem cells therapy for autism clinical trial at Duke. We already registered for it. The Duke University study put us on a waiting list. However, Duke required cord blood for stem cells therapy.

A unit of cord blood, taken at his little brother, Nevo’s birth about two and a half years before, was no longer relevant. The unit was getting too small for the weight Dolev was in. Duke’s waiting list was just too long.

Nevo was eventually diagnosed with autism as well. He received his cord blood in an Israeli stem cells for autism clinical trial.

So we tried every connection we had.

We called the head of our cord blood bank, Amnon Peltz. He gave us colleagues’ e-mails around the world.

We registered with about 100 different studies around the world. But we were rejected or we got no response from most of them.

We ended up finding two places that might work for us. One of them was a hospital in Panama. We asked them: “will you give our son cord blood and fast?”

New sources for Stem cells

And they said no! They only give Umbilical cord derived stem cells therapy for autism. No cord blood transfusions.

“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.

The customer service was excellent.

Now that everything was clear to us. At that point we felt we didn’t have any other options left. It was agreed. Flying to Panama in May!

Hagai and I began preparations for a flight of about 15 hours excluding layovers, with a sweet child who is very low function.

We started looking for a flight from Israel to Panama. Made a list of equipment. We were looking for a way to raise the money towards a heavy 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. Here is our stem cells 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 mentally prepared for a fifteen hour nightmare flight (plus layover) to Panama!

I have a colleague who grew up in Moscow. 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.

We now felt that the place is a good option.

That night we tied loose ends. We bought plane tickets. I called the head nurse in charge of my department to schedule leave.

Riyadh, was a good man who recently passed away. Despite the craziness of it, he never held it against me. Riyadh, in heaven I’ll pay you for it!

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. I showed her all the medical equipment, including every permit for a disabled child.

We traveled with a reputable bag of medicines for any events. This includes resuscitation equipment, never-ending epilepsy medications, and more and more medical supplies.

We were afraid of something happening on the flight. Both us and the flight crew kept checking that everything was okay.

Still shaking with fear but feeling relieved, we got off the plane. The flight went smoothly and, surprisingly, no seizures were observed.

Dolev slept on the flight with the help of the melatonin. He was still hazy at 6 AM, when we arrived in cold and snowy Moscow.

Walking in March in Moscow before stem cells treatment for autism: Hagai, and Shira wearing coats. Dolev is sleeping in the stroller
Zero-degree hike. The kid is jet lagged

Sunday – Arrival at the clinic

At the airport we were met by the clinic’s translator and the driver. They took us to the car, which 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. (Swiss Medica has accommodations within the clinic)

In the meantime the nurse took bloodwork from Dolev.

We were offered to get some rest, and eat. 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. The medical experience in Israel is more “sit and wait your turn” and not let’s go hang out.

The translator was very good with kids too.
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 Dr. Mikheev. A very nice, patient man.

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 still shaking with fear. I told him no one believed we will do it. Everyone told us we’d be back with a body bag.

And that it doesn’t make sense that we’re even going to Russia for medical treatment. Israel is the place where people go to for innovative medical treatments.

He just smiled and said that everything was going to be okay. He explained everything very clearly.

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.

Play park at Avia Park Mall in Moscow
Just one of the ball pools at Gymboree Times.

Tuesday – Day of Treatment

The next morning, they gave Dolev a shot of dormicum for sedation.

In our second trip, Dolev took the dormicum orally. He didn’t even need it in the third treatment a year later. But in the first treatment he had to get a shot because he was too low function.

A doctor and nurse monitored Dolev. And in with a slow drip Dolev finally started his first stem cells therapy for autism.

The stem cells came inside a bottle, like a pre-prepared paracetamol dose. They were administered via an IV line. Dolev took a leisurely nap, and the medical staff checked every few minutes that there was no fever or chills.

The IV took about 30 minutes.

After two hours of good sleep he woke up. The IV line was pulled out, and that was it.

First time Dolev receives stem cell .therapy for autism. He was sedated
Waiting for the treatment to end in a hot room

Wednesday – Release and surprising announcement

The next day we received a release letter. We stayed another day for observation, because we 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. The chef made an effort to understand our special requirements as Jews and for a child with autism.

For those who keep kosher, you can order catering from Chabad house, kosher restaurants 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.

This is when we learned for the first time 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 main neurologist who had been accompanying us since the diagnosis. We both had our doubts, so after the second stem cells therapy 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.

As of October 2019 the child is no longer on antiepileptic medication! No more seizures, and no fights over taking medication.

[Edited again on June 12th, 2021. Still meds and seizure free!]

Effects of Stem Cell Therapy on Autism for Our Child

Before the first treatment Dolev was still in diapers. Although 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.

The first treatment occurred in March 2019. Just in before this, was Dolev’s reevaluation in the child development center. (In Israel autism has to be reevaluated every few years until adulthood).

When the reevaluation started and it appeared he was going to be evaluated with a mental disability in addition to autism.

He was five-and-a-half, but it was estimated that his functional age was around the age of 18 months.

But then his functional age estimate improved. Within two months, Dolev’s functional age was estimated at about 2 and a half years old. In addition, Dolev no longer meets the definition of mental disability.

We didn’t believe it. A full year of development in a couple of months.

Another year of preschool

A week after we got back from the transplant, he had a committee evaluation for another year of preschool.

He was already denied and this was an appeal. They said he was too low function to gain anything from another year of preschool.

We came with him to the committee.

Outside the committee doors, we met his preschool teacher. Dolev walked up to his teacher, looked her in the eye and said, “Hey Shiraz!” He gave her a high-five, and turned around like nothing unusual had happened here.

As we walked into the committee room, Shiraz spoke to the committee, “He just told me, ‘Hey!’ In 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.

Keeping a diary for follow-ups

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 the clinic.

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. To see all the wonderful things we never imagined Dolev could do.

One year plus two treatments later

A little over a year later. Dolev has undergone three treatment sessions so far.

We’re not going to make things pretty. Our son will forever stay on the autistic 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 Dolev can verbally explain to us what he wants to or doesn’t want to eat. Point and report when he’s in pain.

Dolev still has a hard time in a lot of areas, but his placement has changed. 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.

An important note regarding stem cells therapy for autism

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.

Prepare your house in advance with equipment and routine paramedical treatments. The stem cells work for a limited time. In this time, there will be a boost to learning which will decrease. Take advantage of the stem cells to teach basic skills, which can lead to improvements when the cells life time ends.

Stem cells therapy for epilepsy

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 years old, we’re happy even if we can keep him until then.

With regard to epilepsy treatment, there’s not a lot of reading material. It’s an even less studied field than autism.

It worked out for us.

If that’s what your kid needs, you need to check with doctors who specialize in stem cell treatments. They will assess whether it can help in your case, or not.

It’s our journey. It’s crazy to think this all happened in such a short time.

We will mention again that we are only sharing what happened to us.

You can 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 out to 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 treatment.

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. Download the contact form and send it to us so you can receive a small discount for stem cells therapy in Swiss Medica for autism, epilepsy or any other condition listed on their website.

Let us know in the comments: What do you think about our story?

Shira - Hospital Nurse, blogger, special needs parent

Shira – Registered nurse, Parent guide, Mother of four

It takes a village to raise a child

I recommend looking for support groups with experienced special needs parents. For this purpose, we have opened another Facebook group for parenting skills. This is in addition to our Stem cell therapy support group for families looking for information about the treatment based on umbilical cord blood or stem cells. Both of these groups are mainly for Hebrew speakers but you are welcome to join if you think it can benefit you.

For those who are not active on Facebook, join our silent WhatsApp group, where you will receive notifications about events we organize. Again most of these will be in Hebrew, but you can catch the odd English lectures. You can find recordings of these on our youtube channel.

There are many experienced parents in social media groups. You are also welcome to contact us of course for parental guidance or any of our other services.

Our Blog

The Autism Essentials Israel blog is written by Hagai and Shira Reiner, two parents of children with special needs – autism, epilepsy, and more. We focus on the essentials of raising special needs children in Israel, but much of our content will be relevant globally


Sign up to our newsletter to receive our articles directly to your email!

עוצב באמצעות


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

  2. Where would you recommend to go for Warton’s Jelly-Mesenchymal cells intrathecal from a safe lab?

    1. Hi Elizabeth. We don’t recommend an intrathecal administration if it isn’t necessary and from our experience with autism treatment it’s not. The success rate with the clinic we usually send to and go to ourselves is very good.
      They administer MSC via IV, IM and exosomes in inhalation and intranasal drops.

      However, some of the other clinics we interviewed do prefer intrathecal.
      The rule of thumb for safety is that the clinic produces its own cells rather than buy from a third party, and that they are properly regulated.

      Here are clinics I trust that have IT as an option:
      World Stem Cells Clinic in Mexico
      Liv Hospital in Turkey
      You can find the contact details on the list

  3. How much did you spend on the stem cell treatment? Also, how much did you spend on the airfare and accommodation etc. in Russia?

    1. In 2019 the treatment in Russia cost us 6000€, later we payed 12000€ for double the amount of cells. The COVID pandemic caused this company to close the clinic in Russia so we went to Serbia next where the prices are higher – 7000€ and 14000€ for pur recent treatments.
      Treatment costs at this clinic include accomodations, 3 meals a day, transportation and speech therapy sessions.
      At some point, after we opened a Facebook group, we managed to get a discount for patients that registered through our services and arriving on certain dates: 11000€ instead of 14000€.
      I didn’t include airfare in the costs because it changes

  4. Hi,

    Thank you for replying to my question.
    So you spent all together about 39,000 Euros, right? Was it because the treatments were for both epilepsy and autism? Would it be cheaper if you get treatments only for autism?
    My child has autism without epilepsy, and I am considering stem cell treatments for him. Costing $39,000 euros is quite expensive.


  5. No, it wasn’t more expensive because of the double conditions, but we have spent in total much more than you calculated. Let me explain how much we spent on Dolev’s treatments to clarify the costs:
    1st treatment was on March 2019, in Moscow, and it cost us 6000€ + flight tickets. He hadn’t had any seizures after that treatment, so the reason we went back was only for autism.
    2nd treatment – August 2019, Moscow – 12000€
    3rd treatment – March 2020, Moscow – 12000€
    4th treatment – August 2021 – Belgrade – 14000€
    5th treatment – August 2022 – Belgrade – 14000€
    6th treatment – August 2023 – Belgrade – 14000€

    So in total, without flight tickets *just on Dolev* we spent 72000€ in 5 years.

    Why? Because we saw discernable changes after each treatment and wanted to keep the trend going, and we managed to fund it.

    How many treatments will Dolev need? This might have been his last treatment, because we think the gap that can be closed is too small for the treatment to be worth the financial and the trauma cost. But we will consider it towards next summer.

    It is very expensive, no doubt, but it has been such a dramatic impact on Dolev’s communication skills and his life skills that we feel that it is worth much more for the impact on our quality of life as well as enabling Dolev to contribute more to society and keep a job, maybe have a healthy relationship with a life partner, and more…

Leave a Reply