SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – It is a groundbreaking clinical trial, treating autism using a child’s own stem cells, and one local boy’s own medical miracle gave his doctor the idea.

He’ll smile for his photo op.

“He’s had a lot of cameras around him,” his mother, Elisa Rudgers, said when CBS13 visited their home on Tuesday.

His mom will tell you 4-year-old Rydr likes the spotlight, and because he’s become something of a medical marvel, he’s gotten lots of attention.

“Rydr has cerebral palsy and we banked his stem cells at birth,” Elisa explained.

Diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 11 months, Rydr couldn’t sit up on his own and he required feeding tubes to eat. At 15 months doctor’s gave Rydr his first infusion of his own banked cord blood stem cells. His developmental delays diminished quickly.

“After the first infusion after three months, he was crawling, six months he was standing, and nine months he was walking,” his mom said.

Rydr’s stem cells helped rebuild his body and his behavior.

Now Rydr’s doctor is spearheading groundbreaking research to see if the same treatment that’s helped this little boy can help treat autism. Dr. Michael Chez of the Sutter Neuroscience Institute believes there’s a link.

“There’s enough encouraging evidence to think there may have a role to play here,” he said. “But we’re opening a new door and that’s the giant step.”

Can Rydr’s reversal be repeated? Diagnosed cases of autism have climbed in recent years. The most recent numbers show 1 in 88 children is diagnosed with the disorder, up from 1 in 110 in 2006.

How they are treated could be riding on Rydr’s success.

“We want to help other kids, and so there’s a huge sense of satisfaction that we may have helped spearhead this, helped inspire it in any way, shape or form,” Elisa said.


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