Adult Stem Cell Trial in Texas Will Treat Stroke Patients

Bioethics   |   David Prentice, Ph.D.   |   Jul 18, 2011   |   11:59AM   |   Washington, DC

Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston have enrolled their first patient in a trial to use adult stem cells to treat stroke up to 19 days after the stroke occurred. Stroke is one of the leading causes of disability and death in the United States.

The stroke patient was treated June 8 at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center after suffering a stroke May 23, by Dr. Sean Savitz of the UT Medical School. According to Dr. Savitz:

“This represents a new approach using stem cells for stroke. A major question in the field of stem cell research is whether we can extend the time window for administering stem cells. A longer window increases the number of patients that might be helped.”

Savitz is one of the investigators in the FDA-approved Phase II study. The study will investigate use of ALD-401, a therapy developed by the company Aldagen that uses a patient’s own bone marrow adult stem cells. The trial is a double-blind study.

This new trial proposes using the adult stem cell treatment up to 19 days after the stroke event. Dr. Savitz is also currently involved in another trial that treats stroke patients with their own adult stem cells, but injects the cells within the first 3 days after the stroke. Early results from this patient trial are very encouraging. Other studies have indicated that adult stem cells can have a positive effect long after the stroke occurs.