Will it one day be possible to cure cerebral palsy? Scientists working in a new field of study known as “regenerative medicine” think so. But support is needed to further the research, according to two non-profit organizations founded by parents of children with CP.
Cerebral Palsy Family Network (CPFN) and Cure CP have kicked off “Stand for CP,” to raise money to help extend research currently underway at Duke University by stem cell pioneer Dr. Joanne Kurtzberg.
“Dr. Kurtzberg’s work holds tremendous potential for helping children with cerebral palsy lead normal or more functional lives, but like most research dealing with cerebral palsy, it needs financial support to survive,” said Lisa Viele, parent with CPFN. Donations are being accepted through the CPFN Facebook page.
Dr. Kurtzberg, chief scientific officer, Robertson Clinical and Translational Cell Therapy Program, is conducting a clinical trial involving some 100 children with CP to see if reinfusions of their own umbilical cord blood can help regenerate or repair damaged brain cells. The trial, which is closed to new participants, is scheduled to be completed in January.
Dr. Kurtzberg is considered the world’s leading expert in pediatric hematology/oncology, pediatric blood and marrow transplantation, umbilical cord blood banking and transplantation, and novel applications of cord blood. The Duke program is focused on how to use stem cells to directly benefit children with cerebral palsy and a number of other disorders and diseases.
One hundred percent of the money raised will go to support this research, Ms. Viele said.
“Stand for CP” Also to Raise Awareness
The campaign slogan “Stand for CP” reflects solidarity with those living with the disorder, and also is meant to raise awareness about the prevalence of CP and the challenges that children and adults with cerebral palsy face every day.
“Cerebral palsy is the leading movement disorder in children, with some 800,000 adults and children living with CP at any given time in the U.S., yet it falls way down the list in terms of federal research investment in finding creative treatments. We parents and others must fill in the gap,” Viele said.
Cerebral Palsy Family Network is the largest web-based organization in the world providing resources for families with children living with CP. Cure CP is a non-profit committed to funding the support of cerebral palsy research, with a focus on developing new therapeutic methodologies for the treatment of CP.
To make a donation, visit the Stand for CP campaign page.