I was surprised to see that a preliminary study of stem cell treatment of autism disorders is proceeding with FDA approval in the United States. Stem Cells as possible treatments for autism have been mentioned for some time but have been subjected to disparaging commentary for several reasons including the usual anti cure attacks from Neurodiversity self interest groups. To see a preliminary study actually examining a possible source of treatment and cure for autism disorders is startling. To see such a preliminary study receive FDA approval and thereby receive some protection from the anti cure autism extremists and self anointed protectors of the one true science at Respectful Insolence and similar sites is almost shocking.
Philly.com carries a HealthDay article by Mary Brophy Marcus, Could Stem Cells Treat Autism? Newly Approved Study May Tell which indicates that:
"Thirty children with the disorder, aged 2 to 7, will receive injections of their own stem cells from umbilical cord blood banked by their parents after their births. All of the cord blood comes from the Cord Blood Registry, the world's largest stem cell bank. Scientists at Sutter Neuroscience Institute, in Sacramento, Calif., said the placebo-controlled study will evaluate whether the stem cell therapy helps improve language and behavior in the youngsters."
The article is careful not to over hype the study emphasizing that although it is a well designed study it is still a preliminary study which will in effect help decide whether further such studies concerning stem cell treatment of autism are warranted and that it is very early in this process. The article also points out that there are mixed views with some researchers being skeptical about the value of stem cells in treating autism.
The cautions expressed are helpful to my mind. Those who oppose research that might lead to knowledge of autism causation, or to treatments and cures will seize on any excuse to attack and derail such research. The disciplined, professional approach will help ward off such attacks. In the end we should ALL want proper procedures, proper protocols to be followed to ensure that ANY results, positive, negative or neutral to anyone's perspective can be relied upon.
Personally, I am very happy that there is actual research being done, in proper fashion, by credible professionals, under appropriate authorization aimed at finding treatments and cures for autism disorders. After years of pointless, meandering, autism research it is encouraging to see researchers who still live in the real world, who do not view parents as the enemy, and who realize that despite the protests of a few very high functioning persons autism disorders are very debilitating, limiting and even dangerous for many who suffer from them. Autism disorders require treatment as advocated by parents seeking treatment and cure for their children and for those who suffer from them and want treatment and cure for themselves. Let the research be done and be done properly.