Few medical advances are gaining as much international attention as recent developments in stem cell therapy. Researchers are applying this emerging technology in a number of different laboratory environments and patient studies. Based on early reports from a neurological treatment study designed to judge the effectiveness of this technology in stroke victims, industry experts are optimistic about the possibilities.
With only six patients involved in the study, the findings provide just a glimpse of what we might expect on a larger scale. Five out of the six patients have shown modest signs of improvement, and none of them reported any adverse side effects. Researchers are unable to confirm that the improvement signs are directly linked to the stem cells, though these positive results warrant further research.
Phase two of the trial will involve a much larger testing group of patients who have recently suffered a stroke. It will include approximately 20 patients at multiple medical centers.
Stroke is a major medical concern throughout the world. It is the third biggest cause of death and the largest cause of adult disability in the developed world. The costs associated with providing ongoing medical care to affected individuals are near $70 billion in the United States alone. Medical advances in this area could lead to improved quality of life for millions of people.