Umbilical Cord Blood May Help Treat Stroke


Umbilical Cord Blood May Help Treat Stroke 


A stroke can cause debilitating damage to the brain. Currently the only treatment for stroke is a drug that breaks down blood clots and restores blood flow to the brain, but this drug must be given within a few hours after the stroke occurs. New treatments need to be developed to help the brain recover at later times. The severity of a stroke is even worse in patients with diabetes, and the need for new treatments in these patients is even greater. One potential new therapy is the use of stem cells, which might help restore healthy neural tissue in the brain. Umbilical cord blood is a rich source of stem cells, and its use may lead to new treatments of stroke. 

Researchers at Henry Ford Hospital are testing the use of human umbilical cord blood cells in an animal model of diabetic stroke. The team is led by adjunct faculty member Jieli Chen, and includes Distinguished Professor Michael Chopp of the Department of Physics, and medical physics graduate student Poornima Venkat. Initial results were reported recently in the journal Stroke (Volume 46, Pages 2599-2606). Venkat was one of the lead authors of the article, and the study is part of her PhD dissertation research that she will defend in October. 

The research is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health to Chen and to Chopp, and by a grant from the American Heart Association

The abstract of the article is given below: 

Background and Purpose-Diabetes mellitus is a high-risk factor for ischemic stroke. Diabetic stroke patients suffer worse outcomes, poor long-term recovery, risk of recurrent strokes, and extensive vascular damage. We investigated the neurorestorative effects and the underlying mechanisms of stroke treatment with human umbilical cord blood cells (HUCBCs) in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) rats. 

Methods-Adult male T2DM rats were subjected to 2 hours of middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAo). Three days after MCAo, rats were treated via tail-vein injection with (1) PBS and (2) HUCBCs (5x10(6)), n=10 per group. 

Results-HUCBC stroke treatment initiated 3 days after MCAo in T2DM rats did not significantly decrease blood-brain barrier leakage (P=0.1) and lesion volume (P=0.078), but significantly improved long-term functional outcome and decreased brain hemorrhage.