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

poxic ischemia, a loss of blood and oxygen that can result in cerebral palsy, broadly defined as a brain injury that occurs before or during birth.

Ischemic brain injury accounts for about 10 percent of cerebral palsy and about 80 percent of strokes.

They found young, developing brains more adaptable to injury and better able to recover even without intervention. Very young patients may be the biggest beneficiaries of cell therapy, says Dr. James E. Carroll, chief of the MCG Section of Pediatric Neurology and a co-investigator. Our hope is that cell therapy will speed recoveries of babies who have experienced a brain injury at birth, he says. You want to increase the spontaneous recovery, enhance the neurogenesis that is already occurring in the brains of these young patients, adds Dr. Borlongan. They have models for mild, moderate and severe ischemic injury to reflect damage that can result from scenarios such as an umbilical cord wrapped around the fetus neck or placental abruption, which disrupts the fetus source of oxygen and nutrients. Researchers expect that cell therapy likely would be used as an adjunct to hypothermia, a new FDA-approved treatment for hypoxic ischemic injury in babies that appears to improve outcomes by reducing metabolic rates, including oxygen requirements, in the hours following an injury.

Given intravenously, the adult, bone marrow-derived stem cell line, developed by Cleveland-based biopharmaceutical company Athersys, Inc., seems to hone in on the area of injury where it works multiple ways. While only a small fraction of the cells actually survive and mature into neurons more survive in the baby model than the adult trophic factors they secrete significantly enhance recovery of brain cells injured by lack of oxygen and help grow new blood vessels.

Nothing seems to help the core of the ischemic area in stroke, which is formed within hours of injury; even when cells are placed
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Contact: Toni Baker
tbaker@mcg.edu
706-721-4421
Medical College of Georgia
Source:Eurekalert  

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