Stem cells for treating a stroke

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A new product may vastly increase stroke victims' chances at recovery. And the treatment begins with stem cells. 

Sharon Thomas is back at work like nothing was ever wrong. But four years ago, she had a stroke. 

Thomas says, "At that time, I couldn't read, write, swallow or speak." 

She was helicoptered to OHSU and the care of Dr. Wayne Clark. He asked if she wanted to be part of a trial for a stem cell treatment that might help her recover. 

Dr. Clark says, "What this does, the stem cells are from very, very young cells, and they bathe the brain in this environment that makes it act like it's young again."   

The stem cells also turn off the inflammatory response sent by the spleen to the brain. The bone marrow-derived stem cells come from a donor and are multiplied in a lab. 

Dr. Clark says, "It can be easily stored in a refrigerator, and mixed up quickly, and given IV. So no specialized facilities will have to be and a 36 hour window, so it could really allow a lot of patients to potentially benefit."    

Sharon made a significant recovery, like 70 percent of patients in the multistem trial. She credits it with giving her an edge. 

Thomas says, "Every day it got better, and my mantra was, 'Every day is a good day,' because I'm still here, I'm still improving." 

And she hopes more stroke patients have access to multistem. 

Dr. Clark says the treatment has no negative side effects but might not be appropriate for cancer patients, because it could make cancer cells grow faster.
 


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