Autism is no longer a new phenomenon in today’s society. In fact, as early as the 1940s, cases of autism have already been observed in children. Since then, various theories and researches have been developed and conducted in an attempt to provide answers to questions, or a cure, even. However, Lulu Quijano, M.A. Ed., an instructor from the University of the Philippines in Diliman who majors in Special Education, states that autism must be viewed in a different light. “There is no cure for autism for it is not a disease, it is a disorder,” she says. “Although children with autism undergo treatments like speech therapy for their delayed speech or behavior therapy to manage their behavior, the end goal for all children or people with autism is to be able to function along with their families and peers and be able to cope with their environment.”
And yet, even without a cure at present, experts continue to make promises of improving the children’s quality of life. Such a promise is seen in Cell Therapies used to address autism in children. Although considered as an unconventional method, cell therapies have already been around for a while, slowly making meaningful milestones in the treatment of autism.
Stem Cell and Fresh Cell Therapy Janise Tang Piap, Country Manager of Villa Medica Philippines (one of the only few approved clinics in the world to administer Fresh Cell Therapy) and mother to 10-year old Ethan, who has autism, shares that although both stem and fresh cells are being used for autism treatment, there is a distinction between Stem Cell Therapy and Fresh Cell Therapy (FCT).
“FCT is the use of fresh or live cells or cell extracts of donor animals, usually sheep, which is injected into the human body for treatment of various ailments, rejuvenation purposes or for the repair of tissues and organs,” she states. “Stem Cell Therapy usually utilize cells from human donors in the form of autologous cells, umbilical cord cells and human fetal cells, among others.” In recent years, a technology to preserve and freeze-dry stem cells for future use has been made available.
Piap explains that her choice for her son’s treatment was Fresh Cell Therapy. “Studies and our patient history have shown that using FCT provides a more effective approach due to the cells’ ability to repair specific organs and poses no threat of rejection,” she shares. “The science behind FCT has been around since the early 1930’s and Villa Medica, the center that provided FCT for my son has been around for more than 40 years.”
Though varying in the cells used, both treatments can be said to operate on the theory that “Like cures like.” As in the concept of a transplant, these stem or fresh cells that are introduced to the body disperse and help in the repair or regeneration of damaged tissues or cells. The cells contain active healing elements that target organs needing revitalization, including those which are difficult to cure. The body then comes out renewed into a healthier state.
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The Process a. Pre-Treatment Piap explains that before the treatment, there is a blood test required in order to determine if the child is suitable for FCT. “The child’s personal information and medical history is also needed. All of these are submitted to our doctor for assessment.”
b. Administration The manner in which the cells are introduced to the body influenced Piap’s decision to have her son undergo FCT. “It is intra-muscular, and for a child, it’s relatively pain-free unlike other stem cell procedures that are administered via IV (intravenous),” she shares. “It’s very similar to getting a vaccine. It’s a total of nine tailor-made injections with specific organs based on the client’s health conditions. The administering is done so quickly it usually takes less than 3 minutes to complete the entire procedure.
c. Post-Treatment “Ethan was made to rest for the next 24 hours after the treatment,” explains Piap. “After that, he was able to resume his regular activities, but at a controlled pace to give the cells maximum healing capacity.”
d. Repeat Sessions There is no pre-determined number of sessions to ensure success on patients, since “each child with autism is different, with some being more high functioning than others. Some have severely damaged internal organs while others do not have this problem. Therefore, repairing these tissue and organs may not be completed with just one Fresh Cell therapy. In some cases, it may take 2-3 treatments for more visible results.”