Stem Cell Treatment For Autism? Mom And Son With ASD Hoping For Good Results, Experts Raise Concerns

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald March 20, 04:00 am
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Some experts believe stem cell therapy for autism has big potentials as a treatment, but other experts caution against clinical trials.
(Photo : Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

A mom and her son with autism are putting their hopes on an experimental treatment that should help cure the 16-year-old. The procedure involves stem cell treatment but it will be done in Mexico and not in the United States. Some experts, however, are raising their concerns.

Mom Sandra Jackson learned about the experimental stem cell treatment for autism online. She enlisted her son with autism, Shunnar Jackson Adkins, for the procedure that costs about 15,000 and $20,000, according to My Record Journal.

Jackson said she has not heard of any negative results of the test and other parents who have tried it swear they saw their kids improved. Jackson's son was diagnosed with autism at age two. Since then, the single mother has been committed to seeing through her son's weekly medical appointments and therapies.

A doctor from Florida administers the treatment in a clinic in Mexico because the experimental test has not received U.S. approval for clinical trials. The boy's family has opened a Go Fund Me page for the expenses and they are hoping Adkins can be part of the clinical trial in April.

Stormy Chamberlain, a professor who's an expert in genome studies, has some misgivings about the procedure, though. Aside from the risks of undergoing a serious treatment abroad, the expert said stem cell treatment for autism doesn't seem like a good idea.

"For autism spectrum disorders, those of us who study neurodevelopment disorders know these disorders are caused by deficits in neurodevelopment and a lot of that happens in the embryo," the expert said. Chamberlain noted it would be "ridiculous" to stick stem cells in the brain in the hopes of changing its neurodevelopment but he understood how parents of children with autism want solutions.

Ricardo Dolmetsch, an expert from Stanford University, however, said this solution is revolutionary and worth exploring. Dolmetsch has conducted his own tests but it's not yet on a clinical trial level. He has seen potential results, as per the CIRM California Stem Cell Agency.

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