Curing a stroke may be possible thanks to stem cells

Curing a stroke may be possible thanks to stem cells

Suffering a stroke can have serious long-term consequences in the worst case, or be a scare to consider.

Unfortunately, these sequelae are more common than we would like, leaving people with speech difficulties or problems with decreased strength and mobility of some (or some) limbs. Therefore, trying to avoid these situations, or being able to improve them, is crucial after a stroke.

Now, thanks to a study carried out by researchers from the Stanford University and recently published in the magazine Stroke, we may have a new weapon: Use stem cells to improve a stroke.

Stem cells to improve a stroke, a therapy for the future?

Despite the fact that this new study has only been tested on a new reduced number of people, it seems that the results lead to notable improvements in all the sequels we have discussed, especially when it comes to walk again. It seems that we have underestimated the brain’s ability to self-repair, but if we give it a push it seems that the results may be incredible.

This is not the first time that stem cells have been used to improve a stroke and restore walking. Last year there was already a study in the UK where patients experienced significant improvements after one year of treatment with injection of stem cells into the brain. Now, in this second study carried out by the SanBio company with 18 patients, all of them have reported significant improvements. Yes, they are few, but it is a great start.

All these volunteers would have suffered a stroke between six months and three years before the study was carried out, and they had stopped improving with rehabilitation treatments. However, after injecting stem cells into his brain, his mobility had improved by an average of 11.4 points on a scale of 1 to 100, which is clinically considered significant; in other words, patients noticed an improvement in their daily lives.

How do stem cells work in a stroke?

The technique is based on inject stem cells into the brain, near the areas responsible for movement control that could have been damaged after a stroke. At the moment the improvement mechanism of this treatment is unknown, but the researchers believe that with each new trial they will be able to obtain a clearer picture of what is happening. At the moment, the hypothesis being considered is that stem cells rejuvenate the brain damaged by a stroke.

In studies in rats, the researchers found that the injected stem cells do not appear to last more than a month in the brain, but during that time they do grow and develop new connections to form new cells and regenerate tissues. Previously, brain circuits and dead cells after a stroke were believed to be dead and unrecoverable, but now we know this is not the case: The brain is able to repair itself, and injection of stem cells can help.

The next step for these researchers is to continue with a new, larger clinical trial, and SanBio plans to follow 156 patients as they progress. Future studies will seek to compare treatment with placebo to really test its long-term efficacy.

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