Researchers at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and Stanford University are conducting a human trial using adult stem cell therapy to treat people who have suffered a stroke. The two institutions have carried out the procedure on six patients so far and plan to enroll another 12 in a two-year safety trial of the new therapy.
The stem cell therapy uses stem cells derived from adult bone marrow and given a booster containing a gene known as Notch, which is involved in the development of infant brains. The stem cells are developed by SanBio, a San Francisco-area company.
No adverse reactions have occurred in the first half-dozen patients, each of whom got 2.5 million stem cells.According to Dr. Douglas Kondziolka, a neurosurgeon who heads the UPMC branch of the trial, during the procedure, doctors sedate the patient, drill a small hole through the skull and insert needle into the brain near the area of the stroke damage. The stem cells are then injected into the brain.
The UPMC-Stanford trial is the only trial in the U.S. putting stem cells directly into a patient’s brain. In the United Kingdom, ReNeuron Ltd., a British company, is using a similar procedure on stroke patients with stem cells developed from fetal brain tissue.
Ernest Yankee, SanBio’s vice president of development, said if there are no safety issues, the company hopes to begin testing the stem cells’ clinical effectiveness within the next two years.
This human trial at UPMC and Stanford University reinforces the thought that stem cell therapy holds great promise in treating a variety of diseases and conditions. Some conditions, such as joint, tendon and muscle injury, are treatable now with stem cells.Other conditions, such as ALS, diabetes, heart disease and MS, appear to be treatable, but widespread treatment is still in the near-future.
This trial is still enrolling patients. They must be adults and must have experienced their strokes between six months and three years ago.They also must have persistent motor difficulties that have plateaued.For more information, contact study coordinator Julia Billigen at 412-605-3959 or BilligenJB@upmc.edu
Dennis M. Lox, MD, has been sucessfully preforming stem cell therapy for several years. Dr. Lox is located in the Tampa bay area in Clearwater, Florida
Information contained in this blog is intended for educational purposes only and not for medical diagnosis or treatment. If you have a medical concern or issue, please consult with your physician.