According to new animal studies, the researchers have found that the bone marrow cell transplant improved functioning after stroke. Researchers in the US have been studying the ability of human bone marrow cells - known as stromal cells - to restore function in brain-damaged rats. Animals were given injections of the cells, which came from healthy human volunteers.
Compared to controls that either did not receive cells, or which received skin cells, those animals that were injected with stromal cells showed improvement. They gained in both motor and sensory functioning. The researchers believe that the bone marrow cells migrate to damaged areas of the brain and produce all kinds of growth factors that help repair the tissue.
More research is needed to assess whether such an approach could work in humans. But the cells might be applicable to the treatment of stroke, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury, and traumatic brain injury.