Doctors at Houston’s Texas Medical Center recently pioneered a new experimental treatment for stroke victims in which the patient’s own adult stem cells are harvested and injected into the bloodstream.
Dr. Sean Savitz, a neurology professor and the study’s lead investigator, hopes to show that the stem cells will take it from there, migrating to the brain and reducing inflammation while increasing blood vessel growth to counteract the reduction in blood flow to the brain caused by strokes.
Tissue plasminogen activator is currently the only demonstrated treatment for stroke victims. Unfortunately it is only delivered to about 3% of those who suffer strokes.
“We’re just at the beginning, but this could an exciting new area of therapeutic intervention for stroke,” said Dr. Sean Savitz, a neurology professor and the study’s lead investigator. “It could be the next frontier.”
Hopefully Savitz is correct and his treatment will be used to give a higher quality of life to stroke victims, many of whom suffer greatly from the effects of not being able to control their own bodies even while their minds are still intact.
Savitz’s study is also noteworthy for its use of adult stem cells rather than those of the ethically and perhaps morally ill-advised embryonic variety – all the more reason to hope he’s successful.