Stem Cell Therapy in the Treatment of Patients With Autism Spectrum Disorder: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Stem Cell Therapy in the Treatment of Patients With Autism Spectrum Disorder: a Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Villarreal-Martinez, L. Gonzalez-Martinez, G. Saenz-Flores, M. Bautista-Gomez, A. J. Gonzalez-Martinez, A. Ortiz-Castillo, M. Robles-Saenz, D. A. Garza-Lopez, E.
Stem Cell Reviews and Reports
Objective Assess the safety and efficacy of upcoming stem cell treatments and analyze their effects on the cognitive and behavioral impairments in patients diagnosed with autism. Methods We included controlled and noncontrolled, randomized and non-randomized trials evaluating stem cell therapy as a treatment in patients with autism spectrum disorder compared to placebo or without comparator. Data Sources Scopus, Web of Science, MEDLINE and EMBASE. Risk of bias was assessed using Cochrane's Risk of Bias tool and the NIH's Quality Assessment Tool for Studies With No Control Group. Results Eleven trials including 461 patients proved eligible. ABC scale meta-analysis showed a mean raw of -11.97 in the intervention groups (95 % CI -91.45 to 67.52, p < 0.01). CARS scale reported a mean raw of -9.08 (95 % CI -15.43 to -2.73, p < 0.01). VABS scale was reported by their domains: communication domain reported a mean raw of 2.69 (95 % CI 1.30 to 4.08, p = 0.92); daily living domain, 1.99 (95 % CI 0.83 to 3.15, p = 0.51); motor domain, 1.06 (95 % CI -0.37 to 2.48, p = 0.20); socialization domain, 3.09 (95 % CI 1.71 to 4.48, p = 0.61); adaptive behavior domain, 2.10 (95 % CI 1.04 to 3.16, p = 0.36). Furthermore, the most common side effects reported included fever, hyperactivity, vomit, headache, and aggressiveness; no serious adverse events were reported. Conclusions The body of evidence suggests that stem cell therapy significantly improves scales in patients with autism spectrum disorder, hence, future studies should help us have more confidence in the results. We found no serious adverse events related to the stem cell therapy.

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Type of intervention

Treatment and Child Welfare Interventions


Mental Health Problems and Disorders

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Development and Life Coping Skills


Biological Risk Factors, Diseases and Symptoms

Medical Procedures

Age group

Age not specified

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