Stroke patients have shown a “remarkable recovery” in a trial that used ethical stem cell procedures.
People who had suffered strokes received cells from two healthy donors, in the form of an injection into their brains.
As a consequence patients regained the ability to walk and use their arms.
Unlike embryonic stem cell techniques, which involve the destruction of embryos, the adult stem cells used were harvested from bone marrow.
During the procedure, patients had an injection of the stem cells into areas near the stroke-damaged part of the brain.
According to the Stanford University School of Medicine, which carried out the trial, patients showed “significant recovery” against “a number of measures” within a month and “they continued improving for several months afterward”.
Professor Gary Steinberg who was behind the research said: “This wasn’t just, ‘They couldn’t move their thumb, and now they can.’ Patients who were in wheelchairs are walking now”.
While he cautioned that the trial was only a small one, he said: “The remarkable recovery we saw in many of these chronic stroke patients was quite surprising”.
Earlier this year, the BBC reported on how adult stem cells had dramatically improved the lives of people with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Holly Drewry explained that she was 21 when she was diagnosed with MS. After giving birth, she became increasingly unwell and could not even dress or wash herself.
But after the stem cell treatment, she could move her toes and was later able to walk out of hospital with assistance.
She said: “I got my life and my independence back and the future is bright again in terms of being a mum”.