Health Alert: Stem cells research for stroke - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Health Alert: Stem cells research for stroke

(Athens, Georgia) Oct. 12, 2004 - Paralysis, loss of speech and strength are all part of rehab for stroke victims. The damage by a stroke could be done before they even know it's happening.

Cesar Borlongan, PhD, an associate professor of neurology at the Medical College of Georgia, says, "There's only one drug available in the clinic, TPA, and for TPA to be effective it needs to be delivered within three hours."

Only two percent of patients make it to the hospital in time to reduce immediate brain damage. Doctor Borlongan wants to change those statistics by using stem cells from a newborn's umbilical cord blood.

He says the cells work in partnership with Minotol, a sugar alcohol that opens up the brain and allows the cells to enter the brain, "We're hoping these cells won't only replace the dead brain cells but will also be functional to re-correct the damaged part of the brain."

David Hess, MD, a neurologist at the Medical College of Georgia, says that could expand the time frame from three hours to potentially days weeks or months, "If you have a therapy that works, even if it's not great but can be given 24 to 48 hours and virtually everybody can take it, that's actually a remarkable advance."

Even more significant, Borlongan says, is the study suggests the mixture can be injected outside the brain through veins in the arm, "It's less invasive. It doesn't cause as much trauma to the recipient."

The research has worked with rats, but in these early stages Dr. Hess remains cautiously optimistic, "I'm hopeful. I think everybody in stroke wants something to work, but it's a big leap from the rodent to the person, yet extremely important work."

For more information on the study log onto http://www.mcg.edu/news/2004newsrel/borlongan1.html.

posted 11:11am by Chris Rees

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