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Stroke Patients See Improvement After Stem Cell Treatment

The team has been conducting the PISCES (Pilot Investigation of Stem Cells in Stroke) study, the world's first fully regulated clinical trial of a neural stem cell therapy for disabled stroke patients. The trial is controversial because the stem cell line originated nearly 10 years ago, from the tissue of a 12-week fetus. It is taking place in Scotland at the Institute of Neurological Sciences, Southern General Hospital, Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Board. The Phase I trial, which began in late 2010, is testing the safety of ReN001, a genetically engineered neural stem cell line made by ReNeuron, a biotech company based in the UK.


The stem cell therapy is being administered in ascending doses to 12 stroke patients, all men over the age of 60 who were left disabled by an ischaemic stroke, the most common form of the condition. Currently, six of the 12 have been treated, representing the first two of four dose cohorts. The other six will begin receiving the higher doses, comprising around 20 million stem cells, in the coming months.

"We remain pleased and encouraged by the data emerging from the PISCES study to date," said Keith Muir, the trial's lead investigator. Dr. Muir is SINAPSE Professor of Clinical Imaging, Division of Clinical Neurosciences, at the University of Glasgow. "The data indicate that the ReN001 treatment has a good safety profile at the doses administered thus far," he added. "The preliminary signals of potential functional benefit, whilst intriguing, will require further investigation in a suitably designed Phase II efficacy study."

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