Autism, or ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impacts social, emotional, and communication skills. It can be detected in the first years of a child’s life when certain typical signs in behaviour are noticed. ASD causes impairment across many areas of functioning from early childhood. However, symptoms may not manifest fully until environmental requirements exceed the child’s capacity. As patients grow older and receive proper behavioural and occupational training and help, they may master compensatory strategies in life.
Patients with ASD might have features of restricted, repetitive patterns of behaviour, interests, or activities. Many people with ASD also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things. Some of them have intellectual or language impairments, as well as other medical and genetic disorders.
More and more families opt to use stem cell therapy to mediate behavioural patterns in autistic children and to correct their cognitive and medical features. These cells help to promote the improvement of neurological and cognitive function and to overcome the array of physiological dysregulations usually associated with ASD.
In this article, you will learn about the experiences of parents who have chosen stem cell therapy for their children with ASD, the results of this strategy, and the current approaches for correcting various manifestations of autism. You will also be able to form a clear understanding of how stem cells work in the treatment of autism.
Our Patients’ Results
We invite you to watch testimonials from our patients.
Paul, father of seven-year-old Samuel
“I’m Paul from Reading in the UK. I’m the father of Samuel who’s seven years old. He was diagnosed with ASD at approximately three years of age. Sammy is a gift and always has been. He has taught us so much. We wouldn’t be who we are without Samuel. He was diagnosed, as I said, at three years old. He developed normally but started to regress from about 18 months onwards.
We’ve wanted to really give him the best chance we can, and we chose to come to Swiss Medica for pioneering stem cell therapy to see what further opportunities we could find for him. The treatment we received in the UK in the past has not been what we would have liked. No one really knows what to do, and we felt that this would give us a better opportunity.
Since we’ve been here the care has been absolutely amazing, and we’ve learned; I’ve learned, my wife has learned, and so have Samuel and my other two sons, one being Theo who’s only six months old. We’ve been treated with dignity and respect that we have not seen anywhere else.
The future is not yet written, and we feel incredibly optimistic, whereas perhaps in the past we were very fearful of what the future may bring. Now we’re looking forward to each day more and more, and we’re just incredibly grateful to the team for the support and love and compassion that everyone has shown us. I would recommend it to anyone. This is a fabulous, wonderful place.”
Diana, mother of four-year-old Daniel
“Parents who have experienced exactly the same thing as me know what it means for you to be able to sit on the sofa on Sunday and watch a family movie, with your child sitting next to you, and you can sit as a family. Even if it’s only for five minutes and if it’s never happened before, it’s a lot.”
“It was difficult, the problems with the sleep, running constantly, but we came to that stage when we were not able to leave the house. We were not able to sit him in a buggy or walk on the street. All he wanted was just to be in my arms and stay at home.”
Hyperactivity and aggression
“Daniel became very active, constantly running. I was afraid to have guests in my house because my son was naked. I was afraid to go to the shop because my son was screaming. I was so tired, because for a year and a half I lived on three hours of sleep per night.”
High sensitivity and social interaction avoidance
“He spent his fourth birthday on the stairs while all his friends were playing in the room because he couldn’t cope. When we went to playgrounds, he would always play by himself. It was difficult to take him to a specialist`s room; he would want to go within a minute. He would not cope well with different places. So I started spending more time at home.”
“He wasn`t digesting his food. It was like as soon as he was eating, the nappy was full. Vomiting, undigested food … It was crazy. We were afraid to even sleep because so many times when I woke up in the morning, he would start vomiting all that he had eaten before going to bed. Then, at the age of two-and-a-half, my son passed out on the plane upon landing. And since that day, these kinds of epileptic seizures started – two, three, four times a day.”
Moment of decision
“I thought what could get worse? We were already living in hell. We weren’t enjoying our lives. Our child seemed to be in a prison, constantly crying, constantly upset, constantly bloated and pale. I could see that he was not enjoying his life either. And, as a mom, I knew it was my responsibility to do something. I never, ever wanted to allow myself to believe there was nothing I could do to help.”
Stem cell treatment
“So, I did a lot of research on stem cells, and I spoke with my husband. We found out there are two types. These are not in the UK, but in America and other countries.”
About clinic and procedure
“The driver came and picked us up, we went to the clinic, and I was shocked at the welcome we received. We had a couple of days for consultation, checking his conditions. A couple more days went by, and we began the stem cell treatment, had the after care, and doctors checked him, spoke with me, and comforted me by saying, ‘Mom, it’s ok’. Then, we went home and, of course, we waited for a miracle to happen, and it did!”
“My son’s playing upstairs in the room while mom sits and has a coffee. It never happened before. It was always screaming and demanding.”
Better tolerance to various foods and improved digestion
“The first thing we noticed was a flat tummy. There was no more bloating, no more grabbing, and no more constantly asking me for more food or demanding to eat now. He started leaving food on the plate. We already ate more types of food; we even had chocolate and he had no reaction.”
More adequate behaviour at home and outside
“For the first time in three years, we went to a restaurant. When I photographed and posted on Facebook and all my friends, family, and others who know us saw, they asked me if it was real. The waitress brought some coloured pencils, so he drew on the paper. He waited for his juice, and he waited for his meal. Now, we can go shopping easily. He doesn’t run. In fact, I don’t even need to hold his hand. I just say, ‘Daniel, come back’. He listens. He comes back, and he waits. One other thing he does is give me all the products for me to scan, and I put them in the bag, or we do the opposite.”
Improved communication skills
“If his food is too hot, he blows it, and if he’s asking me for a drink, he brings me a cup and says, ‘Water’.”
Improved self-care skills
“When I walked in the room and saw his trousers, top, and socks he put on the bed ready to get dressed, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. And then I said, ‘Daniel, let’s try. You can do it’. And somehow he managed to dress himself up. To me, it was a shock.
Since we had stem cell treatment, it has been nine months. It’s unbelievable how our life has changed. Mom is calmer; dad is calmer. Why? Because our son is happy now.”
Find out what improvements you can get from stem cell therapy for your personal case >>>
About 70-80% of autistic patients who are treated with stem cells at Swiss Medica show improvement. However, it is important to understand that, despite their healing potency, stem cells are not a cure-all for autism. The effectiveness of therapy depends on many factors, including the patient’s initial state, their age, genetic predisposition, lifestyle (including nutrition), and the availability of support for additional therapies. Integrated treatments (diet, educational programme, etc.) are recommended for optimal results. Also, a short-term increase in the patient’s activity may occur immediately after the treatment, which may be associated with increased brain activity after stem cell therapy.
Current Treatment Approaches for Autism
Treatment of ASD aims at eliminating the core features and deficits of ASD and achieving the maximum possible level of independence and quality of life for an autistic person.
Early Behavioural Intervention
The behavioural approach involves learning through the encouragement of positive behaviours and discouragement of negative behaviours; it is called Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA). It has been found that ABA helps patients to acquire new skills and apply those skills in new situations. However, there is controversy surrounding the use of behavioural intervention; parents and adults who were treated with ABA therapy as children, as well as some researchers in other disciplines, raise concerns regarding this approach. Basically, their concerns focus on attempting to suppress the true personalities of ASD individuals in order to make them “normal”, thereby neglecting neurodiversity. Practising professionals are often accused of unethical behaviour, support of punishment, psychological abuse and trauma, and the destruction of internal motivation.
Pharmaceutical treatments may improve some of the neurological and behavioural symptoms of ASD and bolster efficiency of other treatments. Only qualified physicians are authorised to prescribe special medications, and the patients should be closely monitored for possible adverse effects and changes in ASD features. Often, the treatment scheme is modified over time due to drug tolerance and decreasing efficacy. Moreover, many people with ASD see the drugs as “chemical straitjackets” used to make it easier for parents and teachers to manage challenging kids. Many parents avoid using medications due to the unwanted side effects and concerns regarding total changes to their child’s personality.
Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy
A more complex approach aimed at improving communication and life skills includes the use of speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy. With the help of licensed specialists, teachers, tutors and family members, individuals with ASD may improve their social behaviour and ability to participate in everyday activities.
The repetitive behaviours and restricted interests of people with ASD usually affect dietary choices and eating behaviour, leading to certain health concerns. In addition, the idea that certain nutrient restrictions, such as gluten- or casein-free diets, can improve symptoms of ASD has been widely spread among those who look after people with ASD. According to supporters of this approach, gluten (protein in wheat, rye and barley) and casein (milk protein) cause inflammation and penetrate through holes in the intestine (so-called leaky gut) into the bloodstream. These molecules may harm the brain and central nervous system and provoke or worsen ASD symptoms.
Some researchers support the concept of a close connection between digestive, immune, endocrine, and central nervous systems. According to this approach, individuals with ASD need personalised dietary treatments.
Scientific Basis for Using Stem Cells in Treating Patients with Autism
Stem cell therapy has proven to be a safe and effective treatment approach to manage many incurable diseases, including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, diseases of the musculoskeletal system, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and many chronic inflammation conditions.
The therapeutic effects of transplanted mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are rooted in their valuable biological functions under normal conditions and in disorders. They can migrate to areas of damaged tissue, reduce the inflammatory response, promote the formation of new blood vessels, and stimulate differentiation of local stem cells to repair tissues affected by a disease.
According to the latest clinical findings, stem cell therapy, combined with educational intervention, reduces severe ASD features in children.
There are several areas involved in stem cell efficacy when treating ASD.
According to recent research, immune dysfunction (i.e., ongoing inflammatory response) contributes to the development of core symptoms and behavioural impairments in ASD. Families with at least one autistic child tend to display a high autoimmune burden, such as type 1 diabetes, thyroiditis and maternal rheumatoid arthritis, and many authors now tend to accept immunological factors in ASD aetiology.
Other groups of scientists have shown that the gut microbiota is a key element involved in ASD development. The state of the microbiota (the population of microorganisms that resides in the intestine) which carries out digestion, but is also involved in such vital functions as maintaining the immune system, is closely linked to the inflammatory diseases.
Neurological studies have demonstrated that problems with the blood vessels can also contribute to neuronal dysfunction, which, in turn, leads to the outward signs and symptoms of autism.
All these factors are covered by multiple features of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which are the most convenient cell product for therapeutic purposes. This type of stem cell can be obtained easily from various sources and cultivated in clinical laboratories for administration to a patient.
Injected stem cells also promote restoration of damaged tissue, which, in the case of autism, results in white matter growth in the brain and, consequently, in reduction of neurological symptoms and improved intellectual capacity.
In general, stem cell therapy triggers brain development and helps the body to perform its own work of repairing damaged cells and restoring proper connections between nerve cells.
Expected Results from Stem Cell Therapy
Due to the multi-faceted effects of MSC treatment, which include improvement of blood flow in the brain, angiogenesis promotion, cell viability and/or proliferation enhancement, inhibition of cell death, and modulation of immune responses, the following results are expected after stem cell treatment:
- Improvement of neurological and cognitive function;
- Initiation of social interaction and engagement in play;
- Less hyperactivity and aggression;
- Decrease in repetitive behaviour;
- Improvement of self-care skills;
- Increased attention span;
- Initiation or consistency of eye contact;
- Improved emotional bonding and reciprocity;
- Attention and obedience to requests;
- Decreased motor mannerisms (routines, rituals, and repetition) and fewer obsessions;
- Speech and language improvements, as well as the development of nonverbal communication;
- Improved sleep patterns;
- Normalisation of digestive system function;
- Amelioration of concomitant symptoms of immune dysfunction.
Stem Cell Treatment Procedure
For treatment of paediatric ASD patients we use donor multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MMSCs). The most beneficial results are obtained when a combination of MMSCs from placenta and umbilical cord is introduced. To ensure the safety of young patients, only intravenous stem cell administration via intravenous catheter is used. All procedures are carried out in the patient’s room. Depending on the child’s compliance, light sedation may be required.
Duration of Complete Treatment
Stem cell treatment for autistic patients starts with a test treatment procedure. A single administration of placental multipotent MSCs (2 million cells per kilogram of body weight) is administered intravenously. The patient then returns home and is monitored by the caregivers over the following 1.5-2 months.
At Swiss Medica, we track the feedback provided to us by the parents/caregivers of the patient, and evaluate the results. If the child responds positively to the test therapy, the patient is then invited to receive a full course of stem cell treatment, which includes a double injection of the cell-based product (donor multipotent MSCs).
The full therapy at the clinic for patients with autism usually takes between 3 and 7 days.
On average, the full effect of stem cell treatment develops gradually within 1.5-2 months; however, some positive changes may be seen as early as the first week after therapy. Patients with autism typically see improvements in their social skills, which are permanent. For some patients several treatment courses, with 4-6 month intervals, may be recommended.
To learn what result you can expect in your personal case and to get consultation about the cost and duration of stem cell treatment, please contact our medical advisor >>>