Reply To: Stem Cell Therapy, From Breakthrough Discovery to Clinical Reality

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Daniel Gu
Participant

Those stories and findings are great news. The two most important procedures are: to remove the clot(s) and to get oxygen into those cells before they die. Brain cells don’t regenerate.

It is far more promising than removing the clots.
The Stanford clinical trial is significant in that it has found the brain circuits presumed dead after stroke are actually dormant. They can be revived with external intervention. In another word, one day, a medical procedure will be developed to fully restore stroke survivors to full function. Generations later, healing a stroke survivor may not be that much different from healing someone who fractured his feet.
The question is when that day will come.
Injection of adult stem cells can revive the dormant circuits, as they release growth factors (a form of protein) which greatly reduce the inflammation of the brain. As the inflammation subdued, neuroplasticity is kicked to high gear. A start up named Athersys found something similar and is working to turn their finding into commercial application.
Current medical research process poses a challenge. Because of the very stringent regulation, legitimate stem cell treatment is hard to get. The Stanford trial will take up to 1000 survivors in the 3rd round of the clinical trial. This is really a drop in the bucket, taking into consideration that in the US alone, there are 800,000 new stroke survivors each year.
Many survivors are asking if they could get similar treatments by paying the experiment cost themselves.The answer is no. As a result, they fly to Thailand, Nicaragua and Yugoslavia where there is almost no regulation on stem cell treatment, making themselves an easy target for fraud.
The question is why not opening up the process, so medical schools like WashU, John Hopkins, Duke, UT Dallas etc can offer something similar to Stanford. If people can find way to pay for it, why push them overseas? With more people getting into clinical trials, it can only accelerate the day when stroke can be fully healed.

 

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