Tuesday, March 31, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Scientists infuse stem cells into stroke victims brains

By Mark Roth

Doctors have known for years that when people suffer a stroke, their brains furiously try to repair themselves, but the improvement often plateaus after several weeks or months.

Now, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Stanford University hope they can enhance recovery by infusing millions of stem cells directly into patients’ brains. Using cells developed by a San Francisco-area company called SanBio, the two institutions have carried out the procedure on six patients so far and plan to enroll another 12 in a two-year safety trial.

The cells were culled from adult bone marrow and given a booster containing a gene known as Notch, which is involved in the development of infant brains.

No adverse reactions have occurred in the first half-dozen patients, each of whom got 2.5 million stem cells. During the procedure, doctors sedate the patient, numb the person’s skull, bore a hole through the skull and insert a metal tube into the brain near the area of the stroke damage, said Douglas Kondziolka, a neurosurgeon who heads the UPMC branch of the trial. The stem cells are then infused into the brain through the tube.

Doctors won’t know the outcome for several months, but tests in laboratory rats by Cesario Borlongan at the University of South Florida have shown that the stem cells improved motor function in animals that had suffered a stroke, and the cells secreted several growth and anti-inflammatory factors in the lab.

Ernest Yankee, SanBio’s vice president of development, said if there are no safety issues, the company hopes to begin testing the stem cells’ clinical effectiveness within the next two years.

Borlongan, a neuroscientist at South Florida, said that when people suffer a stroke from a clot blocking blood flow to the brain, there is a central area of damage and then a surrounding, partially damaged area known as the penumbra.

In animals, the stem cells seem to work primarily by repairing the penumbra area. Not only do they secrete factors that help new neurons and blood vessels grow, but they also promote the growth of cellular scaffolding to support the brain repair, he said.

Interestingly, he said, the stem cells themselves disappear a few weeks after they are put in, but their beneficial effects seem to persist.

“We think what our cells are doing is providing an environment for improvement,” Yankee said.

The current trial is still enrolling patients. They must be adults and must have experienced their strokes between six months and three years ago. They also must have persistent motor difficulties that have plateaued.

The UPMC-Stanford trial is the only one in the U.S. putting these stem cells directly into patients’ brains. In the United Kingdom, a British company, ReNeuron Ltd., is using a similar procedure on stroke patients with stem cells developed from fetal brain tissue.

Borlongan said the potential of this therapy comes from the fact that whole cells are secreting a “cocktail” of growth and anti-inflammatory factors into people’s brains. Still, he noted that 178 drugs and biologic agents already have helped repair brain damage in animals but have never successfully worked in humans.

“As a result,” he said, “we in the field of stem cells are very cautious that we don’t fall into giving this too much hype.”

— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Comments

comments

Scripps Howard News Service

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

     
    Coroner confirms West Davis deaths were murder-suicide

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Special playground dedication slated

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

     
    Bob Dunning: Wrap your head around our MRAP need

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

    Solo crash kills Woodland man, 22

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Officials say Iran nuke talks will continue in new phase

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Police: Missing athlete died on freeway

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    French eye cockpit entry rules

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    ‘Old Autos’ at Hattie Weber Museum

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Summer garden alert!

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Davis FFA and ag students host plant sale

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

    Poker tourney benefits DMTC

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Camp Shakespeare begins Saturday

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Davis tops list of best schools for the buck

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A4

     
    Lenten giving project highlights climate justice

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    DCCNS plans open house April 8

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Parent-child open house previews new Waldorf classes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Parenting class meets Tuesdays

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Neighbors invited to adopt Willow Creek Park

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

    Yolo animal shelter seeks donations

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

     
    RSVP for Gerber Young Community Leader reception

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Pence Gallery recruiting volunteers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Move over, Muggles

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A5

    Tour de Cluck has selected its coops

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    CBH hosts Passover Community Potluck Seder

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    City extends nomination period for Huynh Awards

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    Meeting examines Northstar Pond priorities

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Pets of the week

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    .

    Forum

    Maybe he loves the outdoors …

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Why can’t we be friends?

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

    A conversation about power

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

     
    A California comeback for gerrymandering?

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A8

    César Chávez’s peaceful civil disobedience forged a great legacy

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Sports

     
    Over the years, The Show has been a reach for Davis

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UC Davis opens hopeful spring football camp

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    A very palpable hit

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD roundup: Sleiffer seals Aggie tennis victory over Montana

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

    Grizzlies beat Kings to end three-game skid

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

     
    Snubbed Temple, returning Stanford highlight NIT semis

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    30 years of dance in Davis with Pamela Trokanski

    By Chloe Lessard | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Thursday Live! plans a blues party

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Jane Lynch performance rescheduled to August

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Hear some April Fool’s night jazz

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    Dance the night away at house party

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    ‘A Year with Frog and Toad’ a delightful family show

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    Mischief to play at Picnic in the Park

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Yolo Mambo will play at winery

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (set 1)

    By Creator | From Page: B5

     
    Comics: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (set 2)

    By Creator | From Page: B7