Stroke patients show signs of recovery after injection of stem cells. The test was conducted primarily to verify the security of the proposed method, but larger studies are planned for next year.

The condition of all five patients who participated in the small study of British researchers, improved within six months after the treatment.

However, doctors say that they need a more extensive research to understand precisely whether the stem cells caused the observed positive dynamics. Brain scans of the patients showed a decrease of damage resulting from a stroke, but similar improvements can occur as part of the normal recovery process.

This study was only a preliminary test to determine the safety of the proposed new treatment — the injection of the CD34+ stem cells, allocated from the bone marrow, into the artery that provides the blood to the brain. Since there was no control group — those people who did not get the stem cells injection — it is not possible yet to make reliable conclusions about the effectiveness of stem cells.

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It should, however, be noted that four of the five patients suffered one of the most dangerous strokes. Only 4% of people survive and are able to sustain themselves after such a stroke. In the same study, published in “Stem Cells Translational Medicine”, all four alive and three of them recovered totally within 6 months.

Paul Bentley, a neurologist from king’s College London who took part in the research, said that the research team has applied to conduct a more comprehensive study next year, which may include about 50 patients and a broad comparison group.