Infusion of bone marrow mononuclear cells results in decreased intensive care needs and white matter preservation for children with severe traumatic brain injury

Jan. 25, 2024
The researchers are now in the process of developing the design and approach of a pivotal Phase III clinical trial.

After children experienced severe traumatic brain injury, the infusion of bone marrow mononuclear cells derived from the patient’s own bones led to less time spent in intensive care, less intense therapy, and, significantly, the structural preservation of white matter, which constitutes about half the total volume of the brain, according to new research from UTHealth Houston.

The study, published recently in the medical journal Brain, was based on the results of a Phase II clinical trial led by first author Charles S. Cox Jr., MD, the George and Cynthia Mitchell Distinguished Chair in Neurosciences and the Glassell Family Distinguished Chair in the Department of Pediatric Surgery with McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, and senior author Linda Ewing-Cobbs, PhD, professor and the Harriet and Joe Foster Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience in the Department of Pediatrics at the medical school.

Overall, the authors found that autologous bone marrow nuclear cell infusion in children within 48 hours of severe traumatic brain injury was safe and feasible.

Forty-seven patients ages 5 to 17 with severe traumatic brain injury were randomized into a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial at two children’s hospitals in Houston, Texas, and Phoenix, Arizona. Bone marrow harvest, cell isolation, and infusion were completed within 48 hours post-injury.

According to study results, the therapy also resulted in enhanced connectivity of the corpus callosum, a midline structure in the brain consisting of white matter tracts that connect the left and right cerebral hemispheres. The connectivity helps with associative thought, executive functioning, and other aspects of higher-order thinking.

University of Texas Health release on Newswise