Australian researchers develop breakthrough treatment for stroke victims

Published: 20 February 2018 Image credit: La Trobe University Twitter


Australian researchers develop breakthrough treatment for stroke victims

The project led by La Trobe’s Professor Chris Sobey and researchers at Monash University found that an infusion of stem cells given after a stroke can help lessen the severity of a stroke, and also improve recovery significantly.

The cells used are human amnion epithelial cells, and are collected from the lining of the amniotic sac during pregnancy.

The cells are injected into the stroke victim and quickly target the affected area of the brain, helping to reduce inflammation and nerve cell death.

Professor Sobey said these particular cells were notably effective in cell therapy.

“These cells are abundant, they are discarded after birth and they don’t require any treatment before being used,” he said.

Researchers also believe that the usual concerns surrounding cell therapy treatment won’t be an issue using these cells.

“They already contain natural immune-suppressants, which means the patient’s body won’t reject them and they don’t form tumours,” he said.

Stroke is one of Australia’s biggest killers and a leading cause of disability, with almost 56,000 new and recurrent strokes last year, according to the Stroke Foundation.

The best chance of recovery is based on time-critical treatment, ideally administered immediately after a stroke occurs.

These new findings would allow stem cells to be administered as late as one-to-three days after the stroke.

The research has so far only been tested in mice, but Monash University and Monash Health have announced they will begin the first in human trials in acute stroke patients to assess feasibility and safety soon.