X-Message-Number: 13267
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 2000 22:51:09 -0500
From: Jan Coetzee <>
Subject: Brain cell transplants again

Cell transplants may help stroke patients

NEW ORLEANS, Feb 15 (Reuters Health) -- Transplanting early nerve cells
derived from
embryos into the brains of stroke patients is safe and merits further
study, according to a report
presented recently at the 25th International Stroke Conference of the
American Stroke

Dr. D. Kondziolka and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, presented the
results of their work in neurotransplantation. The team studied the
procedure in 9 men and 3
women who had suffered strokes about 2 years previously. Average age of
the group was 61, and
in all cases, their strokes affected only an area of the brain called
the basal ganglia. All patients
were neurologically stable at the time of surgery, meaning that they had
not developed any new
stroke symptoms.

The researchers implanted 2 million cells in three sites in the basal
ganglia in the first 4 patients.
The following 8 patients were randomly assigned to receive either 2
million or 6 million cells in
this part of the brain. All patients received the antirejection drug
cyclosporin for 1 week before
and up to 8 weeks after transplantation.

All 12 patients are alive 6 months after transplantation. There has been
no evidence of
hemorrhage on CT scan and there have been no new neurological problems.
Eight patients have
reported subjective improvement, including increased strength, sensation
and coordination in
stroke-affected limbs.

Six patients have had improvements on the European Stroke Scale ranging
from 3 to 10 points,
with improvements primarily in their ability to move. The investigators
note that the time since
stroke did not appear to affect the patient's odds of improving after
the procedure.

The Pittsburgh team reports that the study results show that
neurotransplantation in stroke is safe
and feasible, and that ''further studies are warranted.''

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