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Stem cell transplants improve recovery in animal models for stroke, cerebral palsy

A single dose of adult donor stem cells given to animals that have neurological damage similar to that experienced by adults with a stroke or newborns with cerebral palsy can significantly enhance recovery from these types of injuries, researchers say.

Using a commonly utilized animal model for stroke, researchers administered a dose of 200,000-400,000 human stem cells into the brain of animals that had experienced significant loss of mobility and other functions. The stem cells used in the study were a recently discovered stem cell type, referred to as multipotent adult progenitor cells, or MAPCs.

Treated animals experienced at least 25 percent greater improvement in motor and neurological performance than controls, said Dr. Cesario V. Borlongan, neuroscientist at the Medical College of Georgia and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Augusta.

The findings are being presented April 7 during the 58th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in San Diego.

In humans, the findings hopefully will translate to incremental but important recovery advances, said Dr. David Hess, adult stroke specialist, chair of the MCG Department of Neurology and a study co-author. "The single largest cause of disability among adults in ths U.S. is stroke," said Dr. Hess. "It's a huge public health problem in the world." He hopes one day stem cell therapy, along with aggressive physical therapy and possibly tPA can work synergistically to reduce that disability.

"These are not going to be cures, but this level of recovery is significant, and could help get somebody out of a bed and into a wheelchair or out of a wheelchair to walking with a cane or from a cane to walking unassisted. If somebody can go from a wheelchair to a cane that is a big improvement, that is how we look at it," Dr. Hess said.

Adult animals were tested across a range of standardized tasks both before and after undergoing the surgically induced stroke, and meas
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Source:Medical College of Georgia


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