This article has been fact checked by a Board Certified Pediatrician. Sources of information for the article are listed at the bottom.
For any content issues please Contact Us.
Currently, there is no cure for cerebral palsy. However, it is one of the most common childhood disorders, and many researchers are working on better treatments. Scientists are optimistic that one day, they will have a cure.
Searching for a Cerebral Palsy Cure
Although a cure for cerebral palsy seems to be far in the future, physicians and scientists are continuously searching for one. Some of the recent applications being tested include:
- Brain cell repair
- Interventions to help prevent brain damage
- Stem cell research
Stem cell therapy continues to show benefits as a way to prevent or repair damaged brain cells, which can lead to cerebral palsy. A recent experiment conducted on mice at Harvard Medical School showed that injecting the animals with stem cell implants resulted in the damaged brain cells being replaced with newer, normally-functioning nerve cells.
Since the study on mice, however, there’s no proof that it will be successful in humans with cerebral palsy. Yet, the studies continue, and researchers are hopeful that, in the future, stem cells will be able to cure cerebral palsy.
Another approach to finding a cure for cerebral palsy is ongoing clinical trials. Some trials involve stem cells and bone marrow research, such as the University of Houston clinical study performed by Charles A. Cox.
Other types of clinical studies include pilot tests using an infant’s own umbilical cord and evaluating the effectiveness of cord blood infusions.
Additional Research for a Cerebral Palsy Cure
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are numerous types of ongoing research being performed in an attempt to find a cure for cerebral palsy.
For example, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, an organization that works with the NIH, continues to conduct basic and clinical research on a potential cure for cerebral palsy. In addition, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) also has ongoing studies looking into a possible cure.
Previous studies indicate that many children develop cerebral palsy due to brain damage during early brain development. Therefore, scientists are studying nerve cells and trying to figure out a way to stop any activity that disrupts the neuron’s normal function within the brain.
In addition, scientists are also studying human genes that may cause malformations in some regions of the brain leading to cerebral palsy. They are currently gathering numerous DNA samples from people with cerebral palsy to screen their genes for genetic abnormalities.
Newborn infants’ brains with injuries and disorders such as bleeding, infections, and seizures are also currently being studied in an attempt to learn how brain chemicals become toxic, which can lead to conditions such as cerebral palsy.
Furthermore, scientists are scrutinizing white matter damage around the ventricles within the brain. White matter damage remains one of the most common causes of cerebral palsy.
Research sponsored by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) is allowing scientists to examine how brain chemicals play a role in white matter development, which can hopefully lead to strategies for preventing the development of cerebral palsy.
Current Treatment Available For Cerebral Palsy
In the meantime, there is a myriad of treatment options available to help children with cerebral palsy live productive lives. The most common treatment options (which may vary according to each child’s unique needs) include:
- Therapies, including speech, physical, occupational, and cognitive therapies
- Medications to help with pain, seizures, spasticity, excessive drooling, and more
- Special education, educational assistance, and counseling
- Surgical options, if needed
In addition, scientists are also looking into new and alternative therapies, including:
- Constraint-induced therapy (CIT)
- Botulinum toxin (Botox)
- Functional electrical stimulation (FES)
- Systemic hypothermia
For more in-depth information regarding treatment options, refer to our article, Cerebral Palsy Treatment.
How To Get More Information On Current Cerebral Palsy Studies
To obtain additional information on cerebral palsy studies and research for a cure, contact the Brain Resources and Information Network (BRAIN) at 1-800-352-9424.
- Brownlee, C. (2018, June 6). The Making of a Brain. Harvard Medical School.
Retrieved from: https://hms.harvard.edu/news/making-brain
- Houston researchers use stem cells to treat traumatic brain injuries. (2016, November 2). HoustonChronicle.com.
Retrieved from: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/local/prognosis/article/Houston-researchers-use-stem-cells-to-treat-10483202.php
- NINDS/NICHD Strategic Plan for Cerebral Palsy Research. (2022, July 25.). National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Retrieved from: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/about-ninds/strategic-plans-evaluations/strategic-plans/nindsnichd-strategic-plan-cerebral-palsy-research
- Causes and Risk Factors of Cerebral Palsy. (2019, September 23). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/cp/causes.html
- Cerebral Palsy: Hope Through Research. (2020, March 23). National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke | National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Retrieved from: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Hope-Through-Research/Cerebral-Palsy-Hope-Through-Research