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Atlanta Boy Participates in Clinical Trial for Cerebral Palsy Cure

By Everett Catts

A Buckhead boy with cerebral palsy is among the first group of children to participate in America’s first clinical trial using each patient’s hip bone marrow stem cells.

Cerebral palsy is a neuromuscular disorder caused mostly by injury or abnormal development in the brain, mostly before birth. John Drambel, who turns 10 in March, will travel to the University of Texas at Houston Tuesday, where the $1.7 million blind study will take place starting Jan. 15. It is for patients ages 2 to 10 and will last one to two years.

John is a quadriplegic and requires round-the-clock care. He cannot dress or use the bathroom himself, and must communicate through a device on his wheelchair. Ed Drambel, John’s father, said there are other studies being conducted at Duke University in Durham, N.C., and at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, both using bank umbilical cord blood. But this is the first study of its kind using the patients’ own cells from their hip bones.

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