Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

No evidence to support stem cell therapy for pediatric optic nerve hypoplasia

Date:
October 22, 2013
Source:
Elsevier Health Sciences
Summary:
A study has found no evidence that stem cell therapy improves vision for children with optic nerve hypoplasia.

A study performed at Children's Hospital Los Angeles found no evidence that stem cell therapy improves vision for children with optic nerve hypoplasia (ONH). Their results are reported in the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus (AAPOS).

Related Articles


ONH, an underdevelopment of optic nerves that occurs during fetal development, may appear either as an isolated abnormality or as part of a group of disorders characterized by brain anomalies, developmental delay, and endocrine abnormalities. ONH is a leading cause of blindness in children in North America and Europe and is the only cause of childhood blindness that shows increasing prevalence. No treatments have been shown to improve vision in these children.

With no viable treatment options available to improve vision, ophthalmologists are becoming aware that families with children affected by ONH are travelling to China seeking stem cell therapy, despite lack of approval in the United States and Europe or evidence from controlled trials. The American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus has also expressed its concern about these procedures. In response to this situation, pediatric neuro-ophthalmologist Mark Borchert, MD, Director of both the Eye Birth Defects and Eye Technology Institutes in The Vision Center at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, realized that a controlled trial of sufficient size was needed to evaluate whether stem cell therapy is effective at improving optic nerve function in children with ONH. He agreed to conduct an independent study when asked by Beike Biotech, a company based in Shenzhen, China, that offers treatment for ONH using donor umbilical cord stem cells injected into the cerebral spinal fluid.

Beike Biotech agreed to identify 10 children with bilateral ONH (ages 7-17 years) who had volunteered to travel to China for stem cell therapy and who agreed to participate in the study; Children's Hospital was to find case matched controls from their clinic. However, only two case-controlled pairs were evaluated because Beike Biotech was only able to recruit two patients. Treatments consisted of six infusions over a 16-day period of umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells and daily infusions of growth factors. Visual acuity, optic nerve size, and sensitivity to light were to be evaluated one month before stem cell therapy and three and nine months after treatment.

No therapeutic effect was found in the two case-control pairs that were enrolled. "The results of this study show that children greater than 7 years of age with ONH may have spontaneous improvement in vision from one examination to the next. This improvement occurs equally in children regardless of whether or not they received treatment. Other aspects of the eye examination included pupil responses to light and optic nerve size; these did not change following treatment. The results of this research do not support the use of stem cells in the treatment of ONH at this time," says lead author Cassandra Fink, MPH, program administrator at The Vision Center, Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Confounding the trial was that subjects received additional alternative therapies (acupuncture, functional electrical stimulation, and exercise) while receiving stem cell treatments, which was contrary to the trial protocol. The investigators could not determine the effect of these additional therapies.

"This study underscores the importance of scientifically testing these procedures to validate them and also to ensure their safety. Parents of afflicted children should be aware that the science behind the use of stem cell technology is unclear. This study takes a step toward testing this technology and finds no beneficial effect," says William V. Good, MD, Senior Associate Editor, Journal of AAPOS and Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology and Senior Scientist at the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Cassandra Fink, MPH, Pamela Garcia-Filion, PhD, Mark Borchert, MD. Failure of stem cell therapy to improve vision in children with optic nerve hypoplasia. Journal of AAPOS, October 2013

Cite This Page:

Elsevier Health Sciences. "No evidence to support stem cell therapy for pediatric optic nerve hypoplasia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131022091803.htm>.
Elsevier Health Sciences. (2013, October 22). No evidence to support stem cell therapy for pediatric optic nerve hypoplasia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131022091803.htm
Elsevier Health Sciences. "No evidence to support stem cell therapy for pediatric optic nerve hypoplasia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131022091803.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins