Page URL:

Stem cell treatment for stroke patients

29 November 2010
Appeared in BioNews 586

A British man has become the first patient in the world to receive a pioneering stem cell therapy to repair brain damage caused by stroke. The man, who had suffered an ischaemic stroke 16 months earlier, had neural stem cells injected into his brain near the area of stroke damage, although the researchers do not expect to see any immediate or significant improvements at this stage.

The clinical trial is primarily designed to test the safety of the stem cell therapy, but researchers will also investigate the effectiveness of the therapy in repairing brain damage and reducing disability after stroke. A total of 12 patients will be recruited to the trial - all of who will be more than 60 years old and have suffered a stroke in the past six to 24 months. The stroke patients will be given a range of stem cell doses to test their safety.

Professor Keith Muir, from the Division of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Glasgow, who is leading the study, said: 'In this trial we are seeking to establish the safety and feasibility of stem-cell implantation, which will require careful follow-up of the patients who take part'.

The stem cells were obtained by British company ReNeuron and were derived from human fetal brain cells. The stem cells have been extensively studied in animal models and pre-clinical testing, and have been shown to be safe and effective in the repair of brain damaged tissue and to reverse stroke-related disability in rats.

The clinical trial received UK regulatory approval in January 2009. The researchers expect some of the injected stem cells will eventually become nerve cells in the damaged brain, but will also stimulate intrinsic repair processes such as new blood vessel growth and mobilisation of the brain's own resident stem cells.

Professor Muir said: 'At this late stage after a stroke you are effectively dealing with a hole in the brain where the brain tissue used to be'. He added that: 'The area of damage is probably larger than a golf ball. If we see anything, I suspect it will be much more akin to rewiring and promoting the repair process occurring naturally rather than filling in huge gaps in the head'.


First stem cell trial in stroke patient
NHS Choices |  17 November 2010
Injection of stem cells into stroke victim’s brain is a medical first
Independent |  17 November 2010
World's first stem cell trial for stroke patients
Telegraph |  16 November 2010
18 June 2012 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
Stroke patients involved in an early stage clinical trial of a stem cell treatment in Scotland have shown signs of slight improvement....
13 February 2012 - by Luciana Strait 
A genetic variant has been linked to an increased risk of a common type of stroke. Researchers identified an alteration in a gene called HDAC9 that is more common in people who have had an ischaemic stroke than in those who have not. The study also replicated variants previously associated with subtypes of ischaemic strokes...
5 September 2011 - by Alison Cranage 
A pioneering clinical trial to inject stem cells into the brains of disabled stroke patients has been cleared to progress to the next stage after no safety concerns were raised in the first three patients....
30 August 2011 - by Dr Nadeem Shaikh 
A South African rugby player is believed to be the first in his country to receive an experimental stem cell therapy to treat a serious neurological disease....
21 March 2011 - by Victoria Kay 
US scientists have identified a gene that may increase the risk of an early onset of stroke. They analysed the genomes of 14 Amish individuals affected by stroke and found a mutation in the SAMHD1 gene that was associated with the brain condition....
10 May 2010 - by Dr Marianne Kennedy 
Certain variations of mitochondrial DNA are protective against strokes, according to a recent study in The Lancet Neurology....
15 February 2010 - by Dr Jay Stone 
The UK Gene Therapy Advisory Committee (GTAC) has given ReNeuron, a British biotech company, permission to begin the first ever clinical trial into using embryonic stem cells as a stroke treatment this year...
20 April 2009 - by Rosie Beauchamp 
A study by an international research team, published a study this week in The New England Journal of Medicine, identifies for the first time a genetic variant that leads to an increased chance of stroke. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the US and...
16 March 2009 - by Lorna Stewart 
Scientists have developed a scaffolding system for keeping stem cells in place in damaged brain areas. Work published last week in the journal Biomaterials demonstrated that damaged tissue in rat brains could be replaced within a week by this method. Principal investigator of the study, Dr Mike...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.