61 years old stroke patient Roland “Bud” Henrich, who was scheduled for tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), which is the only available treatment for ischemic strokes, but due to late arrival, became the first ever stroke patient in United States to be intravenously injected with his own bone marrow stem cells as part of a research trial at The University of Texas Medical School at Houston.
This is the first time in the United States, a stroke patient has been intravenously injected with his own bone marrow stem cells as part of a research phase 1 trial. This trial will enroll another nine patients who have suffered a stroke and can be treated with the stem cell procedure. But patients should enroll within 24 to 72 hours of initial symptoms.
The study is only open to patients who are admitted to the Emergency Center at Memorial Hermann – TMC or through the UT Stroke Team with symptoms of an immediate stroke.
Hebrich lost his speaking power when arrived at the hospital, and additionally had significant weakness on the right side of his body. After two week of the transplant he improved significantly, could speak his first word, and able to walk and climb stairs unassisted.
According to James C. Grotta, M.D., Roy M. and Phyllis Gough Huffington Distinguished Professor of Neurology and chair of the Department of Neurology at the medical school, This study is the critical first step in translating laboratory work with stem cells into benefit for patients. If effective, this treatment could be helpful to a huge segment of stroke patients to reduce their disability.