Brain damage caused by stroke could be repaired by stem cells

Thursday 7 August 2014

Thousands of lives a year could be changed thanks to a pilot research study by Imperial College which involves injecting a patient's stem cells into their brain.

Doctors said the procedure could become routine in ten years after larger trials to examine its effectiveness in a wider group of patients.

Dr Madina Kara, Neuroscientist at The Stroke Association, said: “In the UK, someone has a stroke every three and half minutes, and around 58% of stroke survivors are left with a disability. One of the few existing treatments which can limit brain damage caused by stroke is thrombolysis. However, this drug can only be used to treat strokes caused by blood clots and must be administered within the first 4.5 hours after a stroke. There is an urgent need for alternative treatments to help prevent the debilitating impact of stroke.

Previous studies have shown that a type of stem cell, called CD34+ cells, shows promise to aid stroke recovery. These latest results suggest that this type of treatment could be administered safely and we’re looking forward to seeing the outcomes of further studies to see exactly how they are aiding recovery.

This is one of the most exciting recent developments in stroke research. It’s still early days in stem cell research but these findings could lead to new treatments for stroke patients in the future.”

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