Acceptability of neural stem cell therapy for cerebral palsy: survey of the Australian cerebral palsy community

Madeleine J. Smith, Megan Finch-Edmondson, Suzanne L. Miller, Annabel Webb, Michael C. Fahey, Graham Jenkin, Madison Claire Badawy Paton, Courtney A. McDonald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: Neural stem cells (NSCs) have the potential to engraft and replace damaged brain tissue, repairing the damaged neonatal brain that causes cerebral palsy (CP). There are procedures that could increase engraftment of NSCs and may be critical for efficacy, but hold notable risks. Before clinical trials progress, it is important to engage with the CP community to understand their opinions. The aim of this study was to determine the acceptability of NSC therapy for CP in the CP community. Methods: Australian residents with CP and parents/carers of those with CP completed a questionnaire to determine their willingness to use NSCs from three sources (fetal, embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells) and their willingness to undergo accompanying procedures (neurosurgery, immunosuppression) that carry potential risks. To further explore their views, participants also answered free text questions about their ethical concerns regarding the source of NSCs and their perceptions of meaningful outcomes following NSC treatment. Results: In total, 232 responses were analyzed. Participants were willing to use NSCs from all three cell sources and were willing to undergo NSC therapy despite the need for neurosurgery and immunosuppression. Participants identified a range of outcome domains considered important following NSC treatment including gross motor function, quality of life, independence and cognitive function. Conclusions: Hypothetical NSC therapy was acceptable to the Australian CP community. This study has identified important findings from the CP community which can be used to inform future NSC research, including the design of clinical trials which may help to increase recruitment, compliance and participant satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18
Number of pages12
JournalStem Cell Research & Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Brain injury
  • Cell therapy
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Neurosurgery
  • Pediatric neurology
  • Stakeholder engagement

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