According to a new study, transplantation of human modified bone marrow cells in chronic stroke patients is safe, feasible, and results in improved neurologic function.
The scientists at the University of California identified studies that examined the use of mesenchymal stromal cells processed from bone marrow in animal models of stroke. According to them, bone marrow stem cells may prove beneficial in stroke recovery.
In the early trials, the researchers report that they've safely injected stem cells into the brains of 18 patients who had suffered strokes. Two of the patients showed significant improvement. Others too had improvement in weakness or paralysis within six months of their treatment. Three patients developed complications related to the surgery, but recovered in some time. This encouraged researchers to conduct larger tests of the procedure, which uses stem cells cultured from donated bone marrow.
According to Dr. Steven Cramer, clinical director of the Stem Cell Research Center at the University of California, it's a small, early human study that takes into account multiple steps to get to reach to something clinically useful. He added that stroke remains a major cause of disability, and we are encouraged that the preclinical evidence shows [MSCs’] efficacy with ischemic stroke.
Mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) processed from bone marrow are of particular interest because they come from bone marrow, which is readily available and are relatively easy to culture. The cells orchestrate activities including blood vessel creation to enhance circulation, protection of cells starting to die and growth of brain cells.
The research appears in the journal Neurology and detailed findings will be presented at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons’ annual meeting in San Francisco.
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