Stem cell therapy has developed tremendously over the last couple of decades. In the late 1970s stem cells were found in human chord blood. Over the next couple of decades, various embryonic stem cell lines were found in mice, hamsters, and then primates. In 1997 scientists were able to clone an entire lamb just from using embryonic stem cells. Also in 1997, the origin of Leukemia was found in stem cells which lead to the cure murmurs in the scientific community.
Stem cell research is still significantly new as doctors use stem cell therapy to treat heart disease and leukemia. Stem cells have incredible potential; however, the study is quite new. With the continued support and research, hopefully stem cells will be able to cure some of the worlds most horrible diseases.
A recent article in the Washington Post discusses a new study in stem cell research that could be beneficial for severe stroke patients. The United Kingdom’s Imperial College London just came out with a study that suggests that an injection of stem cells to the brain of a patient who has just suffered a recent stroke could aid their long-term recovery.
A stroke by definition occurs when the brain experiences a reduction or interruption of blood flow. The stem cell in question that could help with stroke victim’s long-term recovery would reproduce new blood vessels in the brain. By increasing the amount of blood vessels in the brain, stroke patients could have the ability to recover and take care of themselves more quickly than with previous treatment methods.
As the United Kingdom’s Imperial College London is working on their hypothesis, they are treating stroke patients within a week of their last stroke. These patients showed signs of recovery after a six-month period. There have only been five patients included in this study, so there is not sufficient evidence to support a full out hypothesis. The general hospital care and other treatment could also be a factor in the patient’s recovery rather than just the stem cell injections. Regardless of the actual cause of recovery, these five patients demonstrated exceptionally quick recovery rates.
Four out of the five patients recovered from the most sever stroke disorder. This type of disorder has low percentages of not only recovery rates, but also survival rates. Three of the five patients were able to live on their own after the six-month study.
The next steps for this stem cell research will be to expand the study to 50 patients with a control group and randomized treatment. The goal of this study will be to see if the injection of stem cells into stroke victim’s brains really had an effect on the patient’s recovery.