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Northwestern Medicine researchers investigate stem cell therapy for stroke
Date:2/11/2013

stem cells, researchers will also seek to determine if the cells are effective in improving stroke symptoms. SB623 is derived from genetically engineered adult bone marrow cells from a healthy adult donor.

"Although not proven in humans, these stem cells have been shown to promote healing and improve function when administered in animal models of stable stroke," said co-investigator Richard Bernstein, MD, director of Northwestern Memorial's Stroke Center and associate professor of neurology at the Feinberg School. "The cells did not replace the neurons destroyed by stroke, but instead they appeared to encourage the brain to heal itself and promote the body's natural regenerative process. Eventually, the implanted stem cells disappeared."

"In this study, the cells are transplanted into the brain using brain mapping technology and scans, allowing us to precisely deposit the cells in the brain adjacent to the area damaged by stroke," explained Rosenow.

Early participants have received 2.5 million cells, but as the study progresses the dose will escalate to 5 million and eventually 10 million cells. Since SB623 cells are allogeneic, a single donor's cells can be used to treat many other individuals. Participants in the study will be followed for up to two years with periodic evaluations for safety and effectiveness in the improvement in motor function.

"Stroke can be a very disabling and life changing event," said Bernstein. "Even just a slight improvement in function could make a huge difference for a person impacted by stroke. To potentially give our patients the opportunity to permanently regain movement or speech is a very exciting prospect. In the animal models, the improvements appeared to remain even after the implanted stem cells disappeared."

Even at this early phase, researchers recognize the promise that stem cell therapy may hold. "If these cells are proven effective in improving, or even reversing brain dama
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Contact: Megan McCann
memccann@nmh.org
312-926-5900
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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