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Promise and caution shown in ongoing research into stem cell treatment of strokes
Date:7/9/2013

in the brain and, if it succeeds in opening the blockage, the restored blood flow itself can cause more tissue damage by increasing inflammation and the destructive molecules known as free radicals.

In contrast to this current, flawed treatment, research into stem-cell therapy focuses on restoring or enhancing the central nervous system's ability to heal itself.

Transplanted stem cells enter the damaged brain and work as a "biofactory" that stimulates and increases this self-healing. Among other processes, this includes the formation of new nerve and brain cells, the sprouting of capillaries from existing blood vessels and repair of the blood-brain barrier, Drs. Zhang and Chopp write.

But there is still far too much to learn before such therapy can safely and effectively be used in humans, according to the review paper. For example:

  • What types of stem cells offer the most effective treatment? Each has to be thoroughly investigated for benefits and risks.
  • What "treatment window" or time limit for maximum effectiveness goes with them?
  • When and how should they be administered and by what route?
  • Which characteristics of stroke patients, including other diseases or disorders, have to be taken into account and how?

"Well-designed investigations into the benefits and risks of each type of stem cell, each candidate for safe and effective treatment of stroke patients, must be done before we can consider them for clinical use," Chopp says.

"But their promise is remarkable."


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Contact: Dwight Angell
dwight.angell@hfhs.org
313-850-3471
Henry Ford Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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