Durham, NC (PRWEB) August 09, 2013
Stroke is a major health concern and is a leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control. Despite significant research efforts, developing treatments that ensure complete recovery for stroke patients poses an extreme challenge, especially when more than a few hours have passed between onset of the stroke and administration of treatment.
However, a new study released today in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine indicates that endothelial precursor cells, which are found in the bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, and as very rare cells in peripheral blood, could make a significant difference for these patients’ recovery — even in the later stages of stroke. In animal studies, the treatment minimized the initial brain injury and helped repair the stroke damage.
“Previous studies indicated that stem/progenitor cells derived from human umbilical cord blood (hUCB) improved functional recovery in stroke models,” noted Branislava Janic, Ph.D., a member of Henry Ford Health System’s Cellular and Molecular Imaging Laboratory in Detroit and lead author of the study. “We wanted to examine the effect of hUCB-derived AC133+ endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) on stroke development and resolution in rats.”
Dr. Janic and his team injected rats that had suffered strokes with the stem cells. When they later examined the animals using MRI, they found that the transplanted cells had selectively migrated to the injured area and that the stem cells stopped the tissue damage from spreading, instigated regeneration, and also affected the time course for stroke resolution. A significant decrease in lesion size also was observed, at a dose of 10 million cells, as early as seven days after the stroke’s onset.
“This led us to conclude that cord blood-derived EPCs can significantly contribute to developing more effective treatments that allow broader t
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