Tuesday, November 16, 2010

First Stem Cell Clinical Trial for Stroke Patients

Most of us have someone in their families or know of a family where one of the members has suffered from a stroke. When it doesn’t kill (stroke is the third largest cause of death in the developed world) it often disables the victim. Strokes usually occur on only one side of the brain, so decreased motor control usually develops on only one side of the body. In fact, one side of the body may be paralyzed (hemiplegia), or muscles on the affected side may be weakened (hemiparesis). Memory loss is another common symptom that many patients experience after a stroke. Further, a patient's attention span tends to be shorter and may display as dementia. According to the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD), in 2007, four million stroke survivors were living in the United States, and more than 730,000 Americans experience a stroke each year. It is the leading cause of disability in the developed world.

Thus there is heartening news from the world of stem cell therapy, which holds promise for regenerative medicine in general and in this case, the reversal of stroke disabilities. Today, ReNeuron Group plc announced that the first patient has been treated with the Company’s ReN001 stem cell therapy for stroke in a clinical trial. The PISCES study (Pilot Investigation of Stem Cells in Stroke) is the world’s first fully regulated clinical trial of a neural stem cell therapy for disabled stroke patients. The Phase 1 PISCES trial is designed primarily to test the safety profile of ReN001 in ischaemic stroke patients at a range of cell doses, but a number of efficacy measures will also be evaluated over the course of the two year trial. Subject to satisfactory safety data, the Company intends to pursue an accelerated clinical development pathway with ReN001, focusing on particular stroke patient groups who are expected to most benefit from the therapy.

By, BioTek Instruments

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