Thursday, March 8, 2012

Study aims to see if stem cells could aid stroke recovery

Chris Woods, 45, of Tignall, Ga., recovers at Medical College of Georgia Hospital after suffering a major stroke Thursday. Woods is taking part in a clinical trial examining whether stem cells can help in the recovery process after a severe stroke.
Chris Woods lay in a bed Friday at Medi­cal College of Georgia Hospital after a massive stroke made his left arm useless. But don’t tell him that.
“I can move it,” he said defiantly, though the arm didn’t move. “I can hit pretty hard with it.”
Something the 45-year-old construction worker from Tignall received hours before could help him do that.
Woods is the second patient in a clinical trial at Georgia Health Sciences University testing whether stem cells derived from bone marrow could help patients recover from a severe stroke.
Dr. David Hess, the chairman of GHSU’s De­partment of Neurology, has been working with the company Athersys to help develop and test the cells, which are derived from healthy donors, tested and packaged so they can be stored in most hospital settings and given without the need to match blood type. Unlike embryonic stem cells, the cells have a very low risk of spawning a tumor, and so far they shown few side effects, Hess said.