A new stroke therapy showing promising results in the first trials done in case of humans. This therapy uses stem cells from the bone marrow of the patients. This is promising because the stroke therapy uses stem cells help in triggering the growth of new brain tissue and blood vessels in the areas of the brain of the patients damaged due to stroke.
In the study, stem cells were extracted from the bone marrow of the patients. In a pilot study, five patients underwent the treatment at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Imperial College London. The patients showed improvements in their disability measures. The study was also found to be safe.
The therapy used a set of stem cells known as CD34+ cells, which are available in the bone marrow that creates the blood cells and the lining cells of blood vessels. The study done on animals found that, these cells can help in improving the recovery from stroke in the case of animals. They do not develop into brain cells, but they help in the release of chemicals that causes triggering of the growth of new blood vessels and brain tissue in the damaged area caused by stroke.
In the study, the patients were treated with the new therapy within seven days of a severe stroke. It's a little bit early to treat patients suffering from stroke, but such early treatment may help in improving recovery of the patients. The researchers took a bone marrow sample from each patient and they isolated the CD34+ cells, which were later infused into an artery supplying the brain. No other study has used these cells so early after the stroke.
Four of the five patients who underwent the study, had severe type of stroke. Only 4% of such patients stay alive and independent after six months. All four of these patients took part in the study were alive and three of them became independent after six months.
The study shows that the new treatment is a safe one and will also help the physicians to treat people or early for better benefits. The improvements of the patients were very good. However, to find the effectiveness of the new therapy, more tests will have to be completed before going for larger trials.
The study was the first trial that extracted stem cells from bone marrow and injected the cells into the damaged brain area. Keyhole technique was used for injecting the stem cells. The researchers involved in the study also believe that using the data and the clinical findings and new drug can be developed based on the factors secreted by the stem cells. Such a drug can be stored and used on patients immediately after being brought in for stroke in the emergency room. On one side, it will reduce the minimum time for therapy of those patients and on the other side, it will increase the positive results from such therapy. Further studies may also help to find out the benefit of starting therapy early for the patients suffering from stroke, when at present therapies for stroke patients are administered after six months or later.
Millions of people suffer from stroke every year. And the survivors of such stroke attacks are affected in different ways – mentally and physically. Many of them do not recover their independence. Send cell therapy can be a new and exciting potential method of treating patients suffering from stroke. However, that may take some time. With more trials and more data, soon the scientists will be able to find a solution for increasing the recovery of stroke patients.