(MIAMI, Fla.) — A yearlong study of patients who had suffered from ischemic strokes, led by physician-scientists at the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the Miller School of Medicine, has found that stem cells can be safely infused to the brain through the carotid artery within two weeks after a stroke.
The national co-principal investigator of the study, Dileep R. Yavagal, M.D., associate professor of neurology at the Miller School, presented the discovery abstract of the RECOVER-Stroke trial entitled Intra-Arterial Delivery of Autologous ALDHbr Cells in Ischemic Stroke: Final 1-Year Results of the RECOVER-Stroke Trial at the European Stroke Organization Conference, in the UK. The findings provide new hope for future stroke treatments as well as for other brain-related illnesses.
“We are excited by the findings of the new study as it offers promise for stroke victims and for those with other neurological conditions,” says Yavagal, who is also Director of Interventional Neurology, Co-Director of Endovascular Neurology, associate professor of neurological surgery and a member of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute. “Previous thought was that stem cell use for brain conditions could lead to worsening stroke or even brain cancer. The conclusions of our research prove that stem cells are safe when given through the carotid artery with a small catheter to treat neurological illnesses, and we can continue to explore the efficacy of stem cells for treatments.”
After a full year of stem cell injections, no increased serious adverse effects were detected in any patients. Specifically, no ischemia-related neurologic worsening was seen as a result of the intra-carotid infusion of stem cells. The intra-arterial approach for cell delivery is worth pursuing for cell-based stroke therapy in future larger studies.