Encouraging results for stroke patients

Issued: Tue, 26 Nov 2013 14:46:00 GMT

Researchers at Glasgow have reported encouraging results from the world’s first clinical trial to test the safety of using stem cells to treat people who have suffered a stroke.

The PISCES trial, which has seen the brains of ischaemic stroke patients injected with neural stem cells to test the safety and tolerability of the treatment, shows that the first nine patients treated have shown no cell-related or immunological adverse affects. In fact, most patients experienced sustained modest reductions in neurological impairment and an improvement in abilities to undertake day-to-day tasks.

‘Most patients had experienced sustained modest reductions in neurological impairment compared to their pre-treatment baseline performance, as well as an improvement in abilities to undertake day to day tasks,’ says University Professor Keith Muir, who is heading the trial of ReNeuron Group plc’s ReN001 stem cell therapy at the Southern General Hospital.

Approximately 150,000 people suffer a stroke in the UK each year and the vast majority of these strokes are ischaemic in nature, caused by a blockage of blood flow in the brain (as opposed to a haemorrhagic or bleeding stroke). 

The PISCES study is the world’s first fully-regulated clinical trial of a neural stem cell therapy for disabled stroke patients. Stroke is the third largest cause of death and the single largest cause of adult disability in the developed world. The trial is being conducted at the Institute of Neurological Sciences, Southern General Hospital, Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board. 

Plans are proceeding for a Phase II trial to examine the efficacy of stem cell treatment in stroke patients. 

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