Spina bifida (Myelodysplasia)
Research & Innovation
Changing the delivery of care for children with hydrocephalus
Dario Fauza, MD, a surgeon and affiliate member of the Steam Cell Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, and his team recently published encouraging results in delivering neural stem cells to the spinal cord in addition to surgical repair in an animal model of spina bifida.
Dr. Fauza has demonstrated that neural stem cells can partially repair damages areas of the spinal cord in a large animal model of spina bifida, which could lead to improved outcomes in the treatment of this disease. Before pursuing human trials, he is working on perfecting the methods for isolation of neural stem cells and their delivery to the fetus or newborn.
Read more about how neural stem cells may help repair spina bifida in utero.
In the Department of Urology at Boston Children’s, Carlos Estrada, MD, has been working with embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells to develop a treatment for the bladder dysfunction that is common in spina bifida. Using a tissue engineering approach, Dr. Estrada’s lab has successfully used these stem cells to recreate the specialized muscle and epithelial cells of the bladder, and is using them for bladder augmentation and reconstruction in mice.
Improving treatment for hydrocephalus
Benjamin C. Warf, MD, director of the Neonatal and Congenital Anomaly Neurosurgery Program at Boston Children’s, developed an innovative surgical technique in the treatment of hydrocephalus. The minimally invasive procedure, called endoscopic third ventriculostomy/choroid plexus cauterization (ETV/CPC), offers an alternative to the risky standard treatment of shunt implantation and lifelong shunt dependence.
Innovative surgical treatment for children with spinal deformities
Lawrence Ira Karlin, MD, an orthopedic surgeon who is involved in the Neuromotor Therapy Program, Orthopedic Trauma Program and Spinal Program at Boston Children’s, is currently doing research focused on spinal deformities and improving the quality of life of children with musculoskeletal disorders.