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Toddler improves in leaps and bounds

Chloe Levine was born seemingly perfect — she was the happy and healthy baby her parents had dreamed of.

But by the time she was 9 months old, Chloe was not reaching the milestones her older sister Shayla had met at that age.

Chloe’s right hand was constantly clenched in a tight fist – she couldn’t even hold her bottle. And she wasn’t able to crawl; she would “shuffle” her body across the floor in a seated position, her mother, Jenny, recalls.

Soon after Chloe’s first birthday, the Levines, who live in Denver, learned their daughter had suffered a stroke in utero and had become afflicted with cerebral palsy.

The Levines remembered they had banked stem cells from Chloe’s umbilical cord at her birth, and wondered if they could be used to help treat her.

On May 28, 2008, at the age of 2, Chloe received a 15-minute re-infusion of her stem cells.

Within four days, her parents saw a noticeable difference, although Kurtzberg said most kids show benefits three to nine months later.

The rigidity on Chloe’s right side loosened up and her speech started to improve. She was able to ride her toy tractor, which in the past had been too difficult for her to pedal.

“Her life is completely normal, she doesn’t drag her right foot, she can use her right hand,” Jenny Levine said. “She rides a bike, a scooter…we’re taking her skiing this year. She’s fabulous.”

Dr. Charles Cox, from the University of Texas-Houston Medical School, has been studying cord blood cells for the past 2 1/2 years.

“Umbilical cord blood cell therapy for traumatic brain injury has a lot of pre-clinical work that has been done, suggesting that it’s beneficial,” Cox said. “I believe that cord blood is equivalent or better than bone marrow-derived cells.”

Cox said if the parents do not choose to save the cord blood, it is considered medical waste and thrown away.

“Really, the issue of cord blood banking today comes down to trying to understand what the future holds in terms of regenerative medicine as a field,” Cox said. “So, the long-term look is, and even the intermediate-term look is that it’s not science-fiction. I see it expanding and accelerating over the next two to five years.” http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,573265,00.html

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