Stem Cell Therapy Holds Promise for Strokes

News | 03. 21. 2012


March 21, 2012

Every year, about 700,000 Americans suffer strokes, which occur when a blood vessel in the brain is blocked or bursts.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States.

Now stroke specialists say stem cells from adult bone marrow may improve patients’ recovery from the condition.

Georgia Health Sciences University is one of several study sites for a stem cell therapy developed by Cleveland-based Athersys. The therapy may reduce the extent of a stroke and enhance recovery even if it is administered more than a day after symptoms begin.

As things stand now, “we have very little to offer patients with moderate to severe strokes after the four-and-one-half-hour treatment window for the clot buster tPA has passed,” says Dr. David C. Hess, a stroke specialist who chairs the Medical College of Georgia Department of Neurology at GHSU.

GHSU researchers have been studying how the stem cells, in animal models, affect ischemic stroke, the most common form of the condition.

“We hope stem cell therapy will help patients get better and get better faster,” Hess says.

Hess speaks to Georgia Health News about the stem cell research and its potential in this video, courtesy of GHSU.