umbilical cord blood in stroke recovery

A new study will investigate the use of umbilical cord blood in improving ischemic stroke recovery.

Ischemic strokes, the most common type of strokes, occur when an artery in the brain is blocked, reducing the levels of blood that reach the brain. The reduced level of blood prevents the cells from making energy, leading to brain cell death and swelling, eventually causing brain damage. After a stroke diagnosis, the clots can be removed or disintegrated with drugs, but damage to the brain can still continue until the swelling has been reduced.

A new study at the Houston Methodist Eddy Scurlock Stroke Centre is investigating the use of umbilical cord blood in stroke recovery, specifically in helping the brain heal faster after an ischemic stroke. The researchers believe that the primitive cells found in umbilical cord blood can help in reducing the swelling in the brain faster, resulting in a quicker stroke recovery.

Researchers will inject 10 patients with umbilical cord blood following an ischemic stroke diagnosis. Patients will be infused with the umbilical cord blood within 3-10 days of their stroke and be monitored for 12 months after receiving the blood to assess their stroke recovery. Patients will be administrated various assessments, including blood tests and an MRI to determine a baseline for the study, serving as controls.

The study is expected to be completed by August 2017 with potential results that could help in developing more effective treatments for strokes.




Pietsch, Hannah. “Using umbilical cord blood to speed stroke recovery” Houstin Methodist Leading Medicine, February 2015.

Kurtzberg, Joanne. “Cord blood infusion for ischemic stroke” January 2016.






Written by Mariana Nikolova, BSc


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