Repairing therapy for brain stroke
Damage caused by a stroke can be reversed. It would be enough to apply a treatment that combines human stem cells with an experimental drug. At the moment, this is just a medical dream that has worked in mice, but if its effect on real patients is demonstrated, it would mean a revolution in the treatment of hundreds of thousands of people who suffer a stroke every year. This is not the first time An injection of stem cells improves motor functions following stroke. But this study goes a step further because it combines this strategy with a neuroprotective drug to improve the results and, above all, to keep them in time.
Adding this medicine prolongs the life and activity of stem cells. Stem cells turn into neurons and make functional and structural connections to the nervous system, “says Berislav Zlokovic of the University of Southern California in the journal Nature Medicine, where he publishes his results. “No one had achieved this in the treatment of stroke until this date.”
Last June, other researchers at Stanford University introduced stem cells from the bone marrow through a direct infusion into the brain. The 18 treated patients had a significant improvement that allowed, for example, to re-walk. However, the transplanted cells were not transformed into neurons as they have now.
“The problem of injected stem cells is that they have little path, they die. The conjunction with the drug makes them persist and form functional contacts with other cells. In his opinion, “the results are quite interesting and give rise to the start of the study of a new therapy for stroke, which today there is no effective.”
This compound so effective, still has no commercial name. It is called 3K3A-APC and has already begun to be tested alone in clinical trials with patients with true stroke, although still without madrer cells. Still no results.
“If it works in humans, it could accelerate the rehabilitation of these patients,” says Jim Koenig, director of the Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, one of the agencies that has supported this research.