Researchers use stroke patient’s own stem cells for first time

April 16th, 2009 - 2:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, April 16 (IANS) A stroke patient intravenously received his own bone marrow stem cells, as part of a new research trial in the US.
Roland Henrich, 61, was transferred to Memorial Hermann, Texas University Medical Centre (TUMC) on March 25 after suffering a stroke on his farm in Liberty.

He arrived too late to receive tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), the only treatment for ischemic strokes. He became the first patient in the trial.

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted by a blockage or a rupture in an artery, depriving brain tissue of oxygen.

It is the third-leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer. According to the American Stroke Association, nearly 8,00,000 Americans suffer a stroke each year - one every 40 seconds. On average, someone dies of a stroke every three to four minutes.

The Phase I safety trial, funded by a pilot grant from The National Institute of Health and support from the Notsew Orm Sands Foundation, will enroll nine more patients who have suffered a stroke and can be treated with the stem cell procedure within 24 to 72 hours of initial symptoms.

“It’s still very early in this safety study, but this could be an exciting new therapeutic approach for people who have just suffered a stroke,” said Sean Savitz, assistant professor of neurology at the TUMC and the study’s lead investigator.

“Animal studies have shown that when you administer stem cells after a stroke, the cells enhance the healing. We know that stem cells have some kind of guidance system and migrate to the area of injury,” said Savitz, according to a TUMC release.

Animal studies have shown that the healing effects of stem cells can occur as early as a week but Satyivz cautioned it is too early to attribute Henrich’s improvement to the stem cell treatment.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Sci-Tech |