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Groundbreaking stem cell trial for UK stroke patient

World first stem cell trial for UK stroke patient Cells injected directly into brain

Stem cells have been injected into the brain of a stroke victim in a ground-breaking clinical trial.

The patient is a 60 year old man left disabled after a stroke eighteen months ago. Doctors at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow injected around two million stem cells into a healthy area of brain tissue, close to brain tissue damaged by the stroke.

It is hoped that the stem cells will encourage the growth of new brain cells, and perhaps even repair some of the damaged tissue.

The trial, known as the Pilot Investigation of Stem Cells in Stroke (PISCES) study, is the first of its kind in the world to investigate the use of neural stem cell therapy for disabled stroke patients.

The patient has now been discharged from hospital and will be monitored for the next two years.

Professor Keith Muir, from the University of Glasgow Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, said: "We are pleased that the first patient in the PISCES trial has undergone surgery successfully.

"Stroke is a common and serious condition that leaves a large number of people with significant disability. In this trial we are seeking to establish the safety and feasibility of stem cell implantation, which will require careful follow-up of the patients who take part.

“We hope that in future it will lead on to larger studies to determine the effects of stem cells on the disabilities that result from stroke."

Ischaemic stroke is the most common form of the condition and is caused by a blockage of blood flow in the brain, as opposed to a haemorrhagic or bleeding stroke.

Stroke is the third largest cause of death and the single largest cause of adult disability in the developed world, including Britain.

This article was published on Tue 16 November 2010

Image © James Steidl - Fotolia.com

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