Using a patient's own bone marrow stem cells to treat acute stroke is feasible and safe, results of a groundbreaking Phase I trial at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have indicated.
The trial was the first ever to harvest an acute stroke patient's own stem cells from the iliac crest of the leg, separate them and inject them back into the patient intravenously.
The first patient was enrolled in March 2009 at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.
"In order to bring stem cells forward as a potential new treatment for stroke patients, we have to establish safety first and this study provides the first evidence in addressing that goal," said Sean I. Savitz, M.D., principal investigator and associate professor of neurology at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, part of UTHealth.
"Now we are conducting two other stroke cell therapy studies examining safety and efficacy, one of which can be administered up to 19 days after someone has suffered a stroke," added Savitz.
Stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted by a blockage or a rupture in an artery, depriving brain tissue of oxygen. It is the third-leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer and a leading cause of disability.
The study has been published in the Annals of Neurology.