A new study will be conducted to evaluate the potential of applying whole umbilical cord blood in the treatment of patients affected with stroke. The researchers believe that cord blood has the ability to repair brain damage and reverse the symptoms of stroke.
Ischemic stroke is a common type of stroke caused due to the formation of clots that block the blood from reaching the brain. Hemoglobin molecules present in the blood carries oxygen to all parts of the body and when the brain does not receive blood, it is devoid of oxygen. This, in turn, kills the brain cells and causes swelling. Although the clots can be disintegrated with medication, the swelling will disrupt the normal functions of the brain and it will remain damaged. It is necessary to treat the swelling as well as the clot to recover brain functions in stroke patients.
In this study, the primitive cells of the umbilical cord blood will be used to reduce the swelling in the brain and rescue the brain cells from dying. In previous trials, the stem cells isolated from the umbilical cord were used in the treatment of ischemic stroke. This is the first research that uses the whole umbilical cord blood to study the recovery of brain functions affected by stroke. The principal author of this study, John J Volpi, Houston Methodist and co-director of the Houston Methodist Eddy Scurlock Stroke Center said that the preserved umbilical cord blood will be given intravenously to stroke patients within 10 days of stroke attack. The patients involved in the study will be carefully monitored for 12 months after the cord blood transplant to check for progress. The researchers believe that the cord blood cells can help in reducing the swelling at a faster pace and the patients can recover soon.
If this study gives positive outcome, it can give hope to thousands of patients suffering from stroke across the world. Stem cell therapy is still evolving and will provide better therapeutic opportunities in the future.