Study shows stem cell therapy is safe for stroke patients; may aid recovery if given early.

Stroke stem cell therapy shown to be safe and effective.A multi-center trial looking at whether a single dose of millions of adult, bone-marrow-derived stem cells can aid stroke recovery indicates it’s safe and well-tolerated by patients but may not significantly improve their recovery within the first three months, researchers report.

However, the trial does provide evidence that giving the therapy early – within the first 36 hours after stroke symptoms surface – may enhance physical recovery by reducing destructive inflammation as well as the risk for serious infections and that these benefits might continue to surface many months down the road, they report in the journal Lancet Neurology.

Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability and the leading preventable cause of disability, according to the American Heart Association.

“There is solid evidence from our basic science work and now some indicators from this phase 2 patient trial that giving these stem cells can safely help dial back the body’s immune response to stroke injury that can ultimately further damage the brain and body,” said Dr. David C. Hess, stroke specialist and chairman of the Department of Neurology at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University.

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