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New therapy shows promise for stem cell stroke treatment

Friday, September 23, 2022 - 11:39am
Maria M. Lameiras

A new combination therapy developed at the University of Georgia’s Regenerative Bioscience Center (RBC) has shown promising results in models of ischemic stroke, or strokes caused by blood clots, significantly reducing disability within a three-month period.

Building on more than a decade of work using pig models for stroke research and induced pluripotent stem cell-derived neural stem cells (iNSCs), Professor Franklin West and a research team including Jin Xie, a professor in the Department of Chemistry at UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, have determined that adding drug-loaded nanoparticles containing the anti-inflammatory compound Tanishinone IIA (Tan IIA) to iNSCs significantly improves outcomes in ischemic stroke pig models.The study has been published in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine. Work on the study was supported by doctoral students Erin Kaiser, Elizabeth Waters and Xueyuan Yang. 

Toxic environment
“After your brain has a stroke, many cells die and there is an overall decrease in performance in the cells that survive. There is also a decrease in the way the blood flows around the brain, called perfusion. But with the stem cell treatment, this improved,” West said. “The problem was, when you transplant the cells, they are being introduced into an environment that’s really cytotoxic and it leads to higher levels of cell death.”

Of approximately 10 million iNSCs transplanted, less than 10% of the cells survive to develop into other types of brain cells, he added.

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Image: Professor Franklin West


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