Stroke Survivors Walk Again After Stem Cell Therapy In Stanford Trial
A group of patients have been freed from the debilitating effects that come from having a stroke.
Affecting hundreds of thousands of people each year in Britain alone, strokes, also known as cerebrovascular accidents (CVA), occur when there’s a sudden shortage of oxygen rich blood flow to the brain.
Patients who’ve suffered from strokes can experience a range of issues including impaired movement, emotional changes, decreased mental functioning, and vision problems. In a quarter of cases strokes are fatal.
In the trial conducted at Stanford University, 18 stroke survivors who experienced the attack between 6 months and 3 years prior, were injected into the damaged part of their brains with stem cells.
Patients were sent home the day after the procedure and continued to be monitored for 2 years. Regular clinical evaluations, blood tests, and brain imaging tracked the progress of the patient’s recovery and showed, surprisingly even to the researchers, that recovery continued long after the stem cells had vanished, there were no long-term side-effects, and some patients who were previously wheelchair bound were able to once again walk and move around.
What makes the trial so revolutionary is that, when reviewed at the two year mark, patients showed no sign of relapses in their recovery. Prior to the trial many experts believed the brain would no longer regenerate after 6 months following a stroke—in other words, the damage was irreversible. But these results prove stem cell therapy can cause circuits in the brain to be resurrected, and thus could potentially lead the way to treating other neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Motor Neurone Disease.
Finding A Convenient Source Of Stem Cells For Treatments
Evidence on the effectiveness of stem cell therapy is pilling high, but there’s one crucial piece of the puzzle that’s somewhat overlooked: stem cell banking.
In response to questions from the media, group CEO at stem cell tooth bank BioEden UK, Tony Veverka, shared his support for the trials and added that, “our job is to make the link between therapy and banking, specifically why banking is the easiest and most cost effective way to access these sort of therapy developments should you need too at a future date”.
Tony Veverka runs the world’s first specialised tooth stem cell bank, which offers a unique service of collecting, harvesting, and storing healthy stem cells from your own teeth.
One of the drawbacks of the trial at Stanford University is that the stem cells used were from bone marrow donors, rather than the patients themselves. Although in this trial the patients did not reject the donor cells or see adverse effects, there are a number of issues with relying on stem cells from donors and specifically bone marrow.
When asked by the media, “How much better would the results/outcomes of this treatment have been if the cells used had been stored by the actual patient when they were young?” Tony answered “much, much better” and highlighted three critical points why:
- Many medical interventions in the future will require your own stem cell material, if you already have your own healthy stem cells isolated and banked you are at a major advantage.
- Storing your stem cells from baby or wisdom teeth which are already leaving the body is a non-invasive and superior way to harvest stem cells due to less damage from pollution and ageing.
- There’s no need to spend time, money (thousands of pounds in the case of bone marrow transplants) and effort finding a match, and you won’t be left without treatment due to not finding one.
- Having your own stem cells eliminates the need of anti-rejection drugs commonly used after donor transplants.
Our teeth are proving to be an all round easier, cheaper, and more effective source of stem cells to use in therapies such as the one described in the trial above. And with a plethora of stem cell treatments set to become widely available in the not too distant future, the question is: will you have your stem cells banked and be ready to benefit from them?