Stem Cell Therapy for Strokes

Stroke is the number one cause of long term disability and fifth leading cause of death in the United States. An assessment of failed treatments by the Stem Cell Therapies as an Emerging Paradigm in Stroke group, an assembly of leading stroke experts, has identified stem cell therapies as a promising option for the treatment of stroke patients. Induced pluripotent stem cell derived neural stem cells (iNSCs) have the ability to function as a dual therapeutic as they can produce regenerative signaling factors and replace damaged tissue. iNSCs can be derived from the patient’s own body, limiting the potential for rejection. A UGA animal and dairy science research team has found these cells to be highly proliferative and easy to maintain in culture, making them amenable to therapy. Stroked pigs that received the iNSC therapy showed significant improvement in brain metabolism, cerebral blood flow, decreased inflammation, and increased endogenous neural stem cell activity. In addition, iNSCs were capable of forming neuron and glia cell types to replace lost and damaged brain tissue. Animals also showed improved motor function suggesting enhanced recovery. The development of iNSC regenerative cell therapy will lead to the replacement and repair of damaged neural networks in stroke patients. This will lead to improved sensory, motor and cognitive function and improve the patient’s quality of life. This platform technology can also be adapted to other central nervous system injuries such as spinal cord injuries or traumatic brain injury.