New Stem Cell Stroke Clinical Trial Underway
Exciting news out of the United States recently with the announcement of a new stem cell stroke clinical trial to address the issue of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH).
The hope is that the research provides positive results that will shape effective therapies in the future that will lead to recovery and cerebrum protection. The importance of this study could not be more evident. Hemorrhagic stroke causes significant damage to those unlikely enough to fall victim to it and close to half of all hemorrhagic strokes to end in a fatality within the space of 30 days.
In collaboration with the Mayo Clinic's Center for Regenerative Medicine, investigators from the Mayo Clinic Florida Campus hope that the findings will revolutionize stem cell research moving forwards.
ICH happens when a blood vessel within the brain bursts resulting in blood leaking throughout the cerebrum. As a result of the buildup in pressure within the encephalon, the surrounding neurons can be significantly damaged. In cases where the amount of blood discharged is significant, unconsciousness and/or death can result.
There are many causes of ICH, the most common of which is hypertension (high blood pressure). This is a huge problem because the majority of hypertension sufferers are not exhibiting any symptoms, therefore the risk of ICH is elevated substantially for those not aware of their hypertension affliction. Other common causes of ICH include infections, tumors, clotting, brain trauma and blood vessel abnormalities.
ICH can be experienced by people of any age, however the average age is lower than that of ischemic stroke. Hemorrhagic strokes are much less common than ischemic, making up approximately 12% of strokes suffered.
The concerning impact and frequency of ICH makes it evident that medical research is essential to try and alleviate the occurrences of this debilitating disease. This is why the Mayo Clinic's USA trial is such exciting news. So what do we know about the trial so far?
To use Stem Cells to help and repair the damage experienced as a result of hemorrhagic stroke. An increased protection of neurons and reverse stroke frequency as it relates to the hemorrhagic kind is the overarching goal.
The clinical trial has got the green light following an exhaustive seven years of laboratory research. The trial will focus on those that have recently suffered from ICH-related strokes within the previous 72 hours. The reason being that researchers are keen to target the members of the population that are most in need of treatment. Despite focusing on those who have recently experienced stroke, those who have suffered a stroke in the weeks and months previous are also a focus of attention as researchers would look to evaluate the results in the hopes of studying treatment of this segment of stroke sufferers sometime earlier in the near future.
The trial will involve 12 patients all who have experienced ICH stroke within the previous 3 days. The 12 patients will be divided threes and four groups will be formed. Three of the four groups will be given Mensenchymal Stem Cells via IV at three differing dosage levels. The final group will consist of patients requiring a brain catheter in order to reduce pressure. This fourth group will be given Stem Cells intravenously via this catheter.
This will provide researchers with two areas of comparison. Firstly, they'll be able to investigate the optimal dosage of Stem Cells. Secondly, they'll be able to investigate which method of delivery works best.
Thanks to experiments conducted prior to the stem cell stroke clinical trial, researchers from the Mayo Clinic are confident that positive results will be uncovered. These preclinical experiments found that their Stem Cells possess anti-inflammatory properties and thus have the ability to repair injured neurons.
Interestingly, the pre-trial experiments also uncovered that the Stem Cells didn't need to be in contact directly with the injured cells in order to influence repair. The suggestion being that regeneration of the affected injury can occur remotely thus boosting the effectiveness of the Stem Cells in the treatment of stroke-related afflictions.
This is tremendously exciting news for the Stem Cell industry and one we will keep a close eye on. Don't forget to check back for updates as the trial nears completion!