Stroke patients respond to stem-cell treatments

Five patients, all with severe disabilities following strokes, have responded well to innovative new treatment using stem cells, it has recently been confirmed.

The patients, being treated at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital, are taking part in one of the world’s first such stem cell trials.

Leading the trial is professor Keith Muir, of Glasgow University, who said:

“We are seeing things that are interesting and somewhat surprising.”

However, the professor was eager to stress that it is too early in the trial to draw any definite conclusions. Other treatments, such as neurological physio, are also very successful in many patients recovering from bad spinal injuries and stroke.

The other care the patients are getting is first class too, which could also be having a positive effect.

The trial is certainly interesting. Involving a total of nine patients, in the 60 to 89 age groups, it involves injecting foetal stem cells into the damaged areas of the brain directly. A safety trial as well, there have thus far been no adverse effects experienced by any of the patients. What has surprised Muir most is that the improvements have had longevity.

There is a long way to go for the trial though, with a second phase taking place later in the year. This will show far more accurately whether the improvements are as a result of the stem cells, or the excellent palliative, neurological physiotherapy and other care being received.

The results of phase one will be presented today (Tuesday, May 28) at the European Stroke Conference in London.

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