Stem Cell Treatment for Stroke Patients: ReNeuron and U Glasgow Trial


Stem Cell Treatment for Stroke Patients: ReNeuron and University of Glasgow Trial. Can stem cell therapy help stroke patients recover? Doctors from the University of Glasgow in Scotland and their partner-scientists from the biotech company ReNeuron are hoping to provide a positive answer to that question once they finish a clinical trial which involves injecting stem cells into the brains of patients disabled by stroke.

The researchers treated their first patient – reportedly a man in his 60s – last Tuesday, 16 November.

A total of 12 patients are expected to receive the stem cell treatment (ReNeuron’s ReN001 cell therapy) in the next six to 24 months. They will be monitored for two years following their injections.

More on the clinical trial from Reuters:

The procedure involves injecting ReNeuron’s neural stem cells into patients’ brains in the hope they will repair areas damaged by stroke, thereby improving both mental and physical function. This first trial is designed primarily to test whether the experimental treatment is safe for stroke patients.
[snip]
If the first study is successful, researchers plan to pursue accelerated clinical development in later-stage clinical trials, focusing initially on more severely disabled stroke patients.

Keith Muir of the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, the principal investigator, reported that their first patient is doing well and was discharged from the hospital.

stem cell treatment for stroke patients

Muir and his fellow researchers are optimistic that the results of the trial will “lead on to larger studies to determine the effects of stem cells on the disabilities that result from stroke”.

According to Reuters, the research makes use of stem cells derived from human fetuses rather than embryos.

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For more stories about stem cell therapy in the UK, check out our post on stem cell therapy at University College London which reportedly cured a blind patient and the sanctions imposed on stem cell doctor Robert Trossel for promising non-existing cures or exaggerating unproven stem cell benefits.

Lastly, don’t miss the BBC report on stem cell therapy for Parkinson’s disease.

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Stem Cell Treatment for Stroke Patients to Begin in Scotland
23 August 2010

A controversial stem cell therapy which is hoped to cure stroke patients is expected to begin in Scotland within weeks. The treatment, spearheaded by neurologist Keith Muir of the Stroke Research Group at Glasgow University’s Institute of Neurological Sciences, will be administered at Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital.

The treatment will make use of stem cells grown from a tissue sample taken from a 12-week-old aborted fetus. According to express.co.uk, this will be injected into the brain of a stroke victim chosen from hundreds of volunteers.

The side effects of the therapy is not clear. Says Doctor Muir:

“We don’t know the full risks. Some risks we do know: the risk of operating under anaesthetic, the risk of dealing with a stroke patient who could suffer another stroke, the risk of heart problems during surgery, the risk of an allergic reaction.”

Not unexpectedly, the Catholic Church – which opposes stem cell treatments with cells from aborted fetus – is criticizing the experiment. Peter Kearney, spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland, said the source of the stem cells was unethical. He adds:

“No one should act as the means to someone else’s end. The parallel here would be that lots of people in this country need a kidney. Should we go to countries, let’s say that have the death penalty, and take them from people that have been hanged or should be go to prisoners who are serving life sentences in this country and take their kidneys out?

You can make a strong case that it will transform the life of someone else, which it would, but that doesn’t mean it is justifiable.”

Watch out for future updates on this experiment in our stem cell treatment coverage.

Stem Cell Treatment for Stroke Patients: ReNeuron and U Glasgow Trial. Posted 19 November 2010.