Stem Cell Treatment for Stroke Patients
Stroke is the world leading cause of disability, while it is the third leading cause of death after cancer and heart disease. It comes without warning and causes catastrophic damage to the brain. With the most common type being acute ischemic stroke, thrombolysis is currently the only therapeutic option. Stem Cell Therapy might be the answer to patient's hopes of recovery.
Conventional Stroke Therapies vs. Stem Cell Therapy
The cause of a stroke is the interruption of blood flow (ischemia) to the brain, which leads to a lack of oxygen and nutrients in the effected region of the brain, causing death of neurons and glia. The functional deficits result within minutes after the onset of stroke, with negative effects on motor, sensory or cognitive function, even loss of consciousness or death.
Recent advances in thrombolysis and in neuroprotective strategies have improved the management of acute stroke. When drugs are administered a few minutes after the injury, it is possible to restore the normal functions as long as the damage is still reversible. However, shortly after the onset of the stroke, brain cells are irreversibly damaged. When this happens, restoration of blood flow might even increase the damage. Many sub-critically damaged cells, which could potentially be saved, induce apoptosis (programmed cell death - "suicide") and are therefore also irreversibly lost.
While conventional stroke therapies can at best limit damage to the brain, stem cell therapies work on a different level (angiogenic, neurotrophic, neuroprotective and anti-infammatory) and have shown great potential in the restoration of brain function. This results in a significant change of how stroke can be treated. Until recently, regeneration of the brain and spine (Central Nervous System - "CNS") has been considered impossible in adults.
However, injection of stem cells into the cerebrospinal fluid (the liquid surrounding the brain and spine which fills its internal spaces) in stroke patients, has significantly improved the functional recovery without serious side effects. Stroke patients who have received intravenous infusions of MSCs have experienced significant functional improvements with fewer neurological deficits and without adverse cell-related, serological or imaging defined effects.
Treatment with stem cells does not only offer a chance for a better and quicker recovery due to the effective neurological regeneration, but it also has the advantage that it can be used alongside all conventional treatment strategies; it has even been shown to synergize with them.
Stem cell research has allowed ANOVA, A German Stem Cell Clinic in the heart of Europe, to offer a novel treatment with a new therapeutical approach: The ANOVA Stem Cell Secretome is a cell free and promising treatment option for stroke.
Call us today, whether you wish to apply for a treatment, or simply receive more information.
Figure: A diseased carotid artery can not only narrow down the blood path to the brain, but also break off and block the cerebral artery completely, causing a stroke.
FAQ: Stem Cell Therapy for Stroke Patients
The simple answer is, the earlier the better. However, scientists and medical professionals have not defined an endpoint for beneficial application. Beneficial effects can be experienced years after the stroke ocurred, but the mechanism of action could be entirely different. For example: applying stem cell therapies at a later time could potentially only induce neurotrophic effects, while a sooner application could initiate the full range of benefical effects that stem cells have (anti-inflamation, apoptotic protection, immunomodulation, neurotrophic). Scientific results are still inconclusive with regards to this question.
This cannot be answered in a simple way, because many parameters play a role in treatment success. There are many medical aspects to be considered, as well as personal and financial aspects.
We offer personalized treatments only, which means that we evaluate each patient and each case individually and assess the risks and benefits of each treatment or treatment combination before we suggest a treatment plan.
For more information please contact us, and send all relevant medical information to give us a chance to discuss your case in our medical board meeting. For urgent (acute) cases of stroke, we will hold emergency meetings with reaction times of 24h or less.
To date there the carried out clinical trials only offer insufficient data to answer this question. However, extrapolating from what is known about stem cells (so far) and their underlying biological mechanisms, frequent injections (initially 1-3 per month) for at least a year or two years, appears to be a good initial guess for an effective treatment. This can easily be adapted to the observed progress or biomarkers. Neurogenesis processes are always slow, even with stem cells.
No! Do not stop taking any medication prescribed by your physician before we are able to do a full assessment and provide clear advise on the matter. In some cases, stroke medications can interfere with the necessary liposuction and / or bone marrow harvesting step. This needs to be carefully assessed by our medical professionals beforehand. With regards to the the stem cell treatment itself, none of the stroke medications have been shown to have negative interferences, as the two work on an entirely different levels.
No, this is not possible, due to regulatory reasons we offer our services in our clinic only. The harvest of Mesenchymal Stem Cells (MSCs) from fat as well as the application of Stem Cell Secretome, are performed strictly in our clinic by the same doctor.
Therapeutic success cannot be guaranteed with any type of treatment. Particularly in the case of experimental therapies such as stem cell-based therapies, the attending physician will perform a benefit-to-risk analysis for each individual patient and case and determine both the benefits and the risks. If the potential benefits outweigh the potential adverse events, the doctor may recommend experimental therapy.
 Kasahara, Yukiko, Tomohiro Matsuyama, and Akihiko Taguchi. "Treatment of Autologous Bone Marrow Mononuclear Cells for Acute and Subacute Stroke." Cell Therapy for Brain Injury. Springer International Publishing, 2015. 37-46.
 Sun, Jinmei, et al. "Intranasal delivery of hypoxia-preconditioned bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells enhanced regenerative effects after intracerebral hemorrhagic stroke in mice." Experimental neurology 272 (2015): 78-87.
 Lindvall O, Kokaia Z: Stem cells for the treatment of neurological disorders. Nature 2006, 441(7097):1094-1096.
 Rabinovich SS, Seledtsov VI, Banul NV, Poveshchenko OV, Senyukov VV, Astrakov SV, Samarin DM, Taraban VY: Cell therapy of brain stroke. Bull Exp Biol Med 2005, 139(1):126-128.
 Bang OY, Lee JS, Lee PH, Lee G: Autologous mesenchymal stem cell transplantation in stroke patients. Ann Neurol 2005, 57(6):874-882.
 Chen, Jieli, Poornima Venkat, and Michael Chopp. "Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stromal Cell Transplantation: A Neurorestorative Therapy for Stroke." Cellular Therapy for Stroke and CNS Injuries. Springer International Publishing, 2015. 47-69.
 Anderson, Johnathon D., et al. "Mesenchymal stem cell-based therapy for ischemic stroke." Chinese Neurosurgical Journal 2.1 (2016): 36.
 Lee, Ji Yong, et al. "Microvesicles from brain-extract—treated mesenchymal stem cells improve neurological functions in a rat model of ischemic stroke." Scientific Reports 6 (2016).