Stroke is the second largest cause of global disability around the world. Despite the fact that current suggested therapies such as rehabilitative approaches, endovascular intervention, and pharmaceutical thrombolysis have been shown to be effective, many stroke patients still have residual deficits. Regenerative therapy using stem cells including mesenchymal cells, hematopoietic stem cells, and neural stem cells) is showing promise in preventing stroke-related tissue damage, promoting tissue repair, and improving functional recovery. The scientific community has been steadily advancing promising therapeutic approaches for cell-based stroke treatments.
Stem cells function through methods that include administration into the brain to replace injured tissues, as well as neuroprotection and downregulation of inflammatory responses. Since, a stroke involves the loss of various cell types, like blood vessels, brain cells/neurons, and specialized cells in the brain, therefore stem cell therapy for stroke is indicative of a promising approach in eradicating stroke.
Effectiveness of Stem Cells in Stroke
Lately, there have been numerous studies and clinical trials on stem cell therapy for stroke survivors. Many of these studies have shown positive outcomes in stroke patients. Although some of these clinical trials have shown neutral results, most of these trials have shown to be safe and effective in the treatment of stroke.
According to a study, 13 clinical trials were conducted that used stem cells for stroke victims from the year 2014 to 2020. Out of these studies conducted, 9 clinical trials showed great results and improved motor functions in the patients.
Stem cells are regenerative and anti-inflammatory by nature, and they seek out damaged tissue in the body. Another study by Stanford University School of Medicine used stem cells in clinical studies to recover stroke victims of various ages, ranging from 6 months to 3 years following their stroke. The trial enrolled 18 people, with an average age of 61, and used direct brain stem cell therapy.
The stem cells used in the research were obtained from a donor’s bone marrow. All of the subjects exhibited symptoms of better motor function after only a few months. A stroke-specific impairment test (The Fugl-Meyer Assessment), showed an average rise of 11.4 points in the patients, and the results lasted for years following therapy, as evaluated by the institution.
This trial made significant progress in demonstrating that stem cells can successfully treat stroke symptoms years after the onset of the stroke, and that they can be used at any age.
As more information from past and present clinical studies in stroke becomes available, regenerative medicine becomes more appealing. The neurophysiology of stem cells and their interconnected pathways suggests that restoring brain function is a feasible endeavor. While there are significant obstacles to getting stem cell therapy into the forefront of disease treatment, it has been proven to be effective in treating a variety of neurodegenerative diseases and other lifestyle disorders. All of these issues must be solved in the future if stem cell therapy is to become a long-term treatment option for stroke.
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