A 66 year old stroke affected woman is the first patient in the UK to receive a stem cell brain injection to recover the use of her arm, after she suffered from stroke a year ago.
According to reports, stroke is the third largest cause of death and about 11,000 people in England are affected every year. The main cause of stroke is found to be blockages in the blood flow that reaches the brain. This condition is known as ischemic stroke which leaves most of the survivors with permanent physical disability such as one side paralysis of the leg, arm and face. Although the patients are treated with clot busting drugs within several hours of the onset of stroke, there are no other treatments available to treat paralysis caused by this medical condition. Thus, rehabilitation therapy is the only option left for stroke survivors to ease the effects of the disabilities. A team led by Diederik Butlers, a neurosurgeon at Southampton General Hospital carried out a new stem cell therapy for a 66 year old woman who suffered a stroke one year back. The team delivered stem cells into the brain so that it can generate new nerve cells that can bring back the lost function of the patient’s arm. This technique was already used at Glasgow’s Sothern General Hospital on an early stage trial, which involved 11 patients and found to be safe and showed promising results at the preliminary findings. The present trial on the 66 year old patient will quantify the benefits it derived from the treatment. Mr. Butlers says that he is delighted to be a part of this exciting study that shows potential outcomes and he believes that this project could improve the lives of those survivors who are left permanently disabled.
Due to the promising results, this treatment will undergo a UK-wide clinical study, Pisces II on 41 other stroke affected patients. If this trial shows positive improvements in reviving the lost functions of stroke affected patients, it could be another milestone achievement in stem cell research.