Stroke Treatment for survivors who believed they would be paralysed or need a wheelchair for the rest of their lives are walking and moving again following a ground-breaking stem cell stroke treatment.18 patients who agreed to allow doctors to drill a hole in their skull and inject stem cells into the damaged part of their brain have made a ‘remarkable’ recovery.Incredibly, it worked for patients whose strokes had occurred between six months and three years previously. Historically doctors have believed that the brain will no longer regenerate after six months.
“The remarkable recovery we saw in many of these chronic stroke patients was quite surprising,” said Prof Gary Steinberg, Chair of Neurosurgery at Stanford, who has spent 15 years researching stem cells.“This wasn’t just ‘they couldn’t move their thumb and now they can’. Patients who were in wheelchairs are walking now. Their ability to move around has recovered visibly. That’s unprecedented.“The study changes our prior notion that patients can’t recover much more after the first six months following a stroke because the circuits are dead, or irreversibly damaged.“Clearly the circuits can be resurrected by this Stroke treatment and we are still investigating how they are being jump-started.”The stem cells in question were taken from the bone marrow of two donors. Scientists had previously believed that stem cells could not integrate into the brain to become neurons.
All the patients involved in the trial had suffered ischemic strokes where a clot prevents blood getting to the brain, which leads to brain cell death. The procedure involved drilling a small hole in the skull above the damaged area so that SB623 stem cells could be injected at several spots around the edge of the injury.Charities said the new Stroke treatment could help fill the ‘urgent need’ for alternative treatments for stroke.Dr Shamim Qadir, Research Communications Manager at the Stroke Assoication said: “In the UK someone has a stroke every three and a half minute and over half of all stroke survivors are left with a disability.