[GRG] Stem cells show promise for stroke

Contact: Sam Wong
Imperial College London
Stem cells show promise for stroke in pilot study
A stroke therapy using stem cells extracted from patients’ bone
marrow has shown promising results in the first trial of its kind
in humans.
Five patients received the treatment in a pilot study conducted by
doctors at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and scientists at
Imperial College London.
The therapy was found to be safe, and all the patients showed
improvements in clinical measures of disability.
The findings are published in the journal Stem Cells Translational
Medicine. It is the first UK human trial of a stem cell treatment
for acute stroke to be published.
The therapy uses a type of cell called CD34+ cells, a set of stem
cells in the bone marrow that give rise to blood cells and blood
vessel lining cells. Previous research has shown that treatment
using these cells can significantly improve recovery from stroke in
animals. Rather than developing into brain cells themselves, the
cells are thought to release chemicals that trigger the growth of
new brain tissue and new blood vessels in the area damaged by
The patients were treated within seven days of a severe stroke, in
contrast to several other stem cell trials, most of which have
treated patients after six months or later. The Imperial
researchers believe early treatment may improve the chances of a
better recovery.
A bone marrow sample was taken from each patient. The CD34+ cells
were isolated from the sample and then infused into an artery that
supplies the brain. No previous trial has selectively used CD34+
cells, so early after the stroke, until now.
Although the trial was mainly designed to assess the safety and
tolerability of the treatment, the patients all showed improvements
in their condition in clinical tests over a six-month follow-up
Four out of five patients had the most severe type of stroke: only
four per cent of people who experience this kind of stroke are
expected to be alive and independent six months later. In the
trial, all four of these patients were alive and three were
independent after six months.
Dr Soma Banerjee, a lead author and Consultant in Stroke Medicine
at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “This study showed
that the treatment appears to be safe and that it’s feasible to
treat patients early when they might be more likely to benefit. The
improvements we saw in these patients are very encouraging, but
it’s too early to draw definitive conclusions about the
effectiveness of the therapy. We need to do more tests to work out
the best dose and timescale for treatment before starting larger
Over 150,000 people have a stroke in England every year. Survivors
can be affected by a wide range of mental and physical symptoms,
and many never recover their independence.
Stem cell therapy is seen as an exciting new potential avenue of
treatment for stroke, but its exact role is yet to be clearly
Dr Paul Bentley, also a lead author of the study, from the
Department of Medicine at Imperial College London, said: “This is
the first trial to isolate stem cells from human bone marrow and
inject them directly into the damaged brain area using keyhole
techniques. Our group are currently looking at new brain scanning
techniques to monitor the effects of cells once they have been
Professor Nagy Habib, Principal Investigator of the study, from the
Department of Surgery and Cancer at Imperial College London, said:
“These are early but exciting data worth pursuing. Scientific
evidence from our lab further supports the clinical findings and
our aim is to develop a drug, based on the factors secreted by stem
cells, that could be stored in the hospital pharmacy so that it is
administered to the patient immediately following the diagnosis of
stroke in the emergency room. This may diminish the minimum time to
therapy and therefore optimise outcome. Now the hard work starts to
raise funds for this exciting research.”
For more information please contact:
Sam Wong
Research Media Officer
Imperial College London
Email: sam.wong@imperial.ac.uk
Tel: +44(0)20 7594 2198
Out of hours duty press officer: +44(0)7803 886 248
Notes to editors:
1. S. Banerjee et al. ‘Intra-arterial immunoselected CD34+ stem
cells for acute ischemic stroke.’ Stem Cells Translational
Medicine, 2014.
2. About Imperial College London
Consistently rated amongst the world’s best universities, Imperial
College London is a science-based institution with a reputation for
excellence in teaching and research that attracts 14,000 students
and 6,000 staff of the highest international quality. Innovative
research at the College explores the interface between science,
medicine, engineering and business, delivering practical solutions
that improve quality of life and the environment – underpinned by a
dynamic enterprise culture.
Since its foundation in 1907, Imperial’s contributions to society
have included the discovery of penicillin, the development of
holography and the foundations of fibre optics. This commitment to
the application of research for the benefit of all continues today,
with current focuses including interdisciplinary collaborations to
improve global health, tackle climate change, develop sustainable
sources of energy and address security challenges.
In 2007, Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare
NHS Trust formed the UK’s first Academic Health Science Centre.
This unique partnership aims to improve the quality of life of
patients and populations by taking new discoveries and translating
them into new therapies as quickly as possible.


About Johnny Adams

My full-time commitment is to slow and ultimately reverse age related functional decline to increase healthy years of life. I’ve been active in this area since the 1970s, steadily building skills and accomplishments. I have a good basic understanding of the science of aging, and have many skills that complement those of scientists so they can focus on science to advance our shared mission. Broad experience Top skills: administration, management, information technology (data and programming), communications, writing, marketing, market research and analysis, public speaking, forging ethical win-win outcomes among stakeholders (i.e. high level "selling"). Knowledge in grant writing, fundraising, finance. Like most skilled professionals, I’m best described as a guy who defines an end point, then figures out how to get there. I enjoy the conception, design, execution and successful completion of a grand plan. Executive Director Gerontology Research Group (GRG). Manages Email discussion forum, web site, meetings and oversees supercentenarian (oldest humans, 110+ years) research. CEO / Executive Director Carl I. Bourhenne Medical Research Foundation (Aging Intervention Foundation), an IRS approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit. http://www.AgingIntervention.org Early contributor to Supercentenarian Research Foundation. Co-Founder Geroscience Healthspan Forum. Active contributor to numerous initiatives to increase healthy years of life. Co-authored book on conventional, practical methods available today to slow the processes of aging – nutrition, exercise, behavior modification and motivation, stress reduction, proper supplementation, damage caused by improper programs, risk reduction and others. Fundamental understanding of, and experience in the genomics of longevity (internship analyzing and curating longevity gene papers). Biological and technical includes information technology, software development and computer programming, bioinformatics and protein informatics, online education, training programs, regulatory, clinical trials software, medical devices (CAT scanners and related), hospital electrical equipment testing program. Interpersonal skills – good communication, honest, well liked, works well in teams or alone. Real world experience collaborating in interdisciplinary teams in fast paced organizations. Uses technology to advance our shared mission. Education: MBA 1985 University of Southern California -- Deans List, Albert Quon Community Service Award (for volunteering with the American Longevity Association and helping an elderly lady every other week), George S. May Scholarship, CA State Fellowship. BA psychology, psychobiology emphasis 1983 California State University Fullerton Physiological courses as well as core courses (developmental, abnormal etc). UCLA Psychobiology 1978, one brief but fast moving and fulfilling quarter. Main interest was the electrochemical basis of consciousness. Also seminars at the NeuroPsychiatric Institute. Other: Ongoing conferences, meetings and continuing education. Aging, computer software and information technology. Some molecular biology, biotech, bio and protein informatics, computer aided drug design, clinical medical devices, electronics, HIPAA, fundraising through the Assoc. of Fundraising Professionals. Previous careers include: Marketing Increasing skill set and successes in virtually all phases, with valuable experience in locating people and companies with the greatest need and interest in a product or service, and sitting across the table with decision makers and working out agreements favorable to all. Information Technology: Management, data analysis and programming in commercial and clinical trials systems, and bioinformatics and protein informatics. As IT Director at Newport Beach, CA based technology organization Success Family of Continuing Education Companies, provided online software solutions for insurance and financial professionals in small to Fortune 500 size companies. We were successful with lean team organization (the slower moving competition was unable to create similar software systems). Medical devices: At Omnimedical in Paramount CA developed and managed quality assurance dept. and training depts. for engineers, physicians and technicians. Designed hospital equipment testing program for hospital services division. In my early 20’s I was a musician, and studied psychology and music. Interned with the intention of becoming a music therapist. These experiences helped develop valuable skills used today to advance our shared mission of creating aging solutions.
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