Dec 18, 2012 7:50 PM by John Overall

Cord blood improving a Tucson boy's quality of life

TUCSON - A Tucson mom says modern medicine is making this Christmas season merrier.

Her little boy has cerebral palsy, but a new procedure is showing positive results.

Nathan Lennex was born at Tucson Medical Center. Tucson is also home to Cord Blood Registry. Nathan's mom decided to bank Nathan's cord blood there and it turns out, that was a wise decision.

Nathan was determined to be born at risk which qualified him for the Newborn Possibilities Program. Organized by Cord Blood Registry and piloted at Tucson Medical Center this allows children an opportunity to participate in clinical research for conditions where limited treatment options exist.
This allowed Nathan's mom to have his cord blood banked for free and have Nathan receive regular assessments.

Right around Nathan's 1st birthday, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy which can impair brain function, movement and cognitive skills.

Nathan's mom, Cherie says, "I'm thinking, what am I going to do? How is he going to have a quality life?"

There's no cure for cerebral palsy but now there is hope. Medical researchers are testing 40 children between 2 and 12-years-old. It's done by infusing them with stem cells from their own cord blood which is frozen and stored right here in Tucson.

Participating in this study means Cherie doesn't have to pay for the procedure.

Two infusions are needed for this test. One time Nathan received stem cells from his own cord blood. The other time it was a placebo. Cherie believes Nathan got the real deal the first time because he showed dramatic improvement right away. Cheri calls it the magic of modern medicine.

"It's science. It works. But the way it looks is it looks magic, it doesn't look like science it looks like magic," said Cherie.

Before the infusion, Nathan was barely rolling over. Now he covers a lot of ground on his knees. "He's supposed to be on his feet but when you think about it when he goes from rolling to walking on his knees, that's incredible. What can you do next?" Cherie said.

Although Nathan's cord blood was collected through the Newborn Possibilities Program, storing cord blood isn't free. For more information go to www.cordblood.com . Families who delivered at Tucson Medical Center and think they might have been a part of the Newborn Possibilities Program but have not received an evaluation call, can call 1-888-588-9775 ext. 248 for more information.


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