EAGLE ROCK (CBSLA.com) — An Eagle Rock mother hopes stem cell research will help give her young daughter a chance at a full life.
Grace Rosewood, 5, suffered a brain injury when she was an infant.
Desperate to find help for her daughter, Olivia Rosewood turned to umbilical cord blood, which the family had banked when Grace was born.
“It set my blood on fire. I think parents know that feeling of, ‘Oh…I have to get this! I have to do this!’” said Olivia.
More research led Olivia to Duke University Medical Center, where clinical trials were being done on patients with brain injuries using their own stem cells extracted from umbilical cord blood.
“We deal with specialists, therapists, teachers. Nobody knew about this. I found out from other moms. I’m really grateful,” said Olivia.
The Rosewoods flew across the country and documented their journey.
So far, Grace has undergone two stem cell infusions.
“She engages with people. We’re still working on speech, but she seems to feel like she’s speaking. She’ll vocalize with intention,” said Olivia.
Dr. Peter Weiss, who doesn’t treat Grace, has been closely monitoring the advances of stem cell research and said promising results have already been seen in cases of hearing loss, Type 1 diabetes, autism, and spinal cord injuries.
In South Korea, doctors are even treating Alzheimer’s patients with stem cells.
“The results aren’t quite out yet, but they do look promising,” said Weiss.
Weiss said in similar cases to Grace’s, the age of the patient is also key and a factor in any benefits seen from the therapy.
Grace still has one more stem cell infusion left. Whatever the outcome, her mother welcomes it.
“Already, the changes for her, have already been enough,” said Olivia. “Whatever else comes…we’re just grateful for that.”
She added, “Life will either knock you down or make you stronger. For our family, I think it’s definitely made us stronger, and sharper, and better, and closer.”
Storing a child’s cord blood averages about $100 a year. Stem cell infusions cost as much as $15,000 each time and are not covered by insurance.