Hope for future treatment of thousands of stroke sufferers from stem cells

"So we said what about the other 90 per cent?"

The team targeted patients who had suffered massive strokes involving a blood clot in the blood vessel in the middle of the brain. Typically there is a high mortality rate in these patients and those who survive are often severely disabled, are unable to walk, talk, feed or dress themselves.

The experimental procedure was carried out on five patients aged between 40 and 70, all of whom showed improvement over the following six months and three were living independently.

More than 152,000 people suffer a stroke in England per year and the research team said that the new procedure could eventually help most of them.

Dr Madina Kara, a neuroscientist at The Stroke Association, said: 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 were 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; however, its still early days in stem cell research but the findings could lead to new treatments for stroke patients in the future.

"In the UK, someone has a stroke every three and half minutes, and around 58 per cenrt 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."

The experimental procedure involves several stages, first the patient's own bone marrow is harvested, which was then sent to a specialist laboratory so the specific stem cells, called CD34+ can be selected.

Then the patient undergoes a procedure in which a wire is inserted into a vein in the neck and up into the area of brain damage. Once there the stem cells are released and the wire retracted.

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Hope for future treatment of thousands of stroke sufferers from stem cells

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