Stem cell trials

330px-stem_cell_treatments-svg]Every year in the UK there are approximately 152,000 strokes, that’s one stroke every three and a half minutes, many survive, some with disabilities but also many don’t.

It has been thought for some time now that to help recovery following a stroke caused by a clot, the introduction of the survivor’s own stem cells into the damaged part of the brain as soon as possible after diagnosis could help.

Scientists believe the cells, from the patient’s bone marrow encourage new blood vessels to grow in the damaged part of the brain.

Following recent trials with five stroke survivors all are still alive and four are now able to live independently, where usually only a small percentage of those surviving severe strokes are able to return to normal life.

Madina Kara, neuroscientist at the Stroke Association believes that now we have evidence that the treatment is safe, hopefully future trials can be made available to more patients and not just those who have had severe strokes.

Although a great deal more research needs to be carried out and many believe a much bigger trial is needed before we can arrive at any conclusion, it is a huge step in a positive and promising direction. This would not only benefit the survivor and their families but all the medical services that need to be in place to help with the devastating effects of stroke.

One great believer in stem cell research was Christopher Reeve, (Super Man), who had hoped to receive stem cell treatment to fulfil his dream of walking again. Unfortunately the treatment was not advanced enough at the time of his death.

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