Pilot Study: Using Stem Cells for Stroke

A pilot study using stem cells as stroke therapy has lead to promising results. The study, conducted by doctors from Imperial College Healthcare NHS trust and scientists from Imperial College London, used stem cells from the patient’s own bone marrow to treat them after suffering from a stroke.

The study was the first human trial to take place as part of the research. Therapy was given to five patients, each of which had suffered from a stroke within seven days before receiving the treatment. This early therapy, researchers believe, much improves the chances of recovery. The main aim of the study was to assess the safety of the treatment, however it was found that all five patients had seen improvement in their condition over a 6 month period, indicating that it could potentially be a new and effective form of therapy.

Treatment involved isolating CD34+ cells from a bone marrow sample of each patient. CD34+ cells are stem cells that give rise to blood cells and blood vessel lining cells. After isolation, the desired cells were then infused into an artery that supplies the brain with blood.

4 out of 5 of the patients had suffered from the most severe type of strokes,  a type of stroke that only 4% of people are expected to survive and to be alive and independent 6 months after the event. The study found that all four of these patients were alive, with three being independent, 6 months after the study had taken place.

The research is still in the very early stages but these recent promising results provide a new insight into therapies of the future, with speed appearing to be of the essence when it comes to treatment for stroke.

The research has been published in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine.

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Amy Moore

Amy is currently studying for a Masters in Science Communication. Follow her on twitter @_Amy_Moore91

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