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Using umbilical cord blood to speed stroke recovery

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Houston – (February 15, 2015) – A new study will evaluate the use of whole umbilical cord blood to help the brain heal quicker after an ischemic stroke.

“While previous studies have evaluated the safety of using certain types of stem cells from umbilical cord blood in stroke recovery, this is the first to study the use of whole umbilical cord blood in ischemic stroke patients,” said John J. Volpi, M.D., principal investigator for the study at Houston Methodist and co-director of the Houston Methodist Eddy Scurlock Stroke Center. “We believe that the primitive cells found in whole umbilical cord blood can help reduce swelling in the brain faster and rescue some brain cells that are on the brink of death.”

Ischemic strokes are the most common type of strokes and occur when a clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain. The lack of oxygen kills brain cells and causes swelling. The clots can be disintegrated with drugs or removed, but damage to the brain continues as long as the affected part of the brain remains swollen.

Volpi says banked umbilical cord blood will be given intravenously to a patient within 10 days of their stroke. These patients will be followed for 12 months after receiving the umbilical cord blood to measure their recovery from the stroke. Houston Methodist researchers are collaborating with Duke University and Emory University on the study. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center will provide the banked cord blood to Houston Methodist.

For more information about the study, which is supported by The Marcus Foundation, Inc., call 713.441.3250 or visit here.

According to the American Stroke Association, nearly 795,000 people suffer a stroke each year, and stroke is the leading preventable cause of disability.

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