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Stem cell therapy studies for stroke, cerebral palsy prepare for clinical trials
Date:1/29/2008

Finding answers about optimal dosage and timing for stem cell therapy in adults with strokes and newborns with ischemic injuries is a goal of two new federally funded studies.

The answers are critical before clinical trials can begin, says Dr. Cesario V. Borlongan, neuroscientist at the Medical College of Georgia and Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He is principal investigator on the National Institutes of Health grants totaling $6 million that also will explore long-term benefits of cell therapy.

If these additional laboratory studies replicate the promising results of the pilot studies, which indicate about a 25 percent improvement in recovery over controls, MCG and VA researchers hope to begin clinical trials in new ischemic injuries in adults and children within two years.

We are looking at different procedures that we can adopt from the laboratory for the clinic, Dr. Borlongan says. We have at least 10 years of basic research that clearly shows that stem cells have the potential to be a new therapy for adult stroke.

This is a whole new paradigm, a totally different way of targeting disease, says Dr. David Hess, chair of the MCG Department of Neurology and co-investigator. Clot buster tPA is the only drug that is FDA-approved to treat ischemic strokes; an often-delayed diagnosis and a three-hour treatment window mean only a small percentage of patients get it.

Drs. Hess and Borlongan say cell therapy could eventually be used alone or in conjunction with tPA, if recovery is not sufficient. Pilot studies indicate cell therapy can be of benefit up to seven days after a stroke but that two days out is the optimal time of delivery. This will allow us to enroll patients who get tPA, give us plenty of time to assess them and prepare the cells, says Dr. Borlongan.

Their success in an adult stroke model led the researchers to explore the potential for helping babies recover from hy
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@mcg.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert  

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