Doctors use stem cells to offset stroke damage

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

LONDON - A stroke victim, who had millions of stem cells injected into his brain in a pioneering attempt to repair the damage, is out of hospital and doctors say he is doing well.

The truck driver in his 60s, who suffered a stroke 18 months ago, is part of the first commercial stem cell trial to be held in Britain in which four groups of three men aged 60-plus will receive progressively higher doses of the cells from an aborted baby.

Keith Muir, the Glasgow University expert leading the trial, said: “We are pleased that the first patient in the trial has undergone surgery successfully.”

The revolutionary treatment could be in widespread use in as little as three years.

Incredibly, one 12-week-old foetus could generate enough cells to treat hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of patients, reports the Daily Mail.

More than a quarter of a million Britons alone live with a severe disability caused by stroke but there has been no way of healing the damage caused to the brain.

Doctors at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital and scientists at Surrey-based biotech firm ReNeuron believe the answer may lie in stem cells.

These are ‘blank’ cells capable of acting as a repair kit for the body by replacing worn-out tissue.

It is thought that a single jab could mend much of the damage caused by strokes, improving speech and walking and easing memory problems.

Doctors will monitor them for two years to see if the stem cells have started to repair their brains and if their condition has improved.

If the treatment is deemed safe and shows promise, larger-scale trials will follow. In tests on rats, the stem cells restored movement in animals left disabled by strokes.

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