Controversial Stem Cell Treatment Improves Stroke Patients

In a new controversial stem cell treatment named the PISCES (Pilot Investigation of Stem Cells in Stroke) trial study, five out of six stroke patients have shown improvement without any side effects after being treated with doses of stem cells. The researchers in the study presented their findings at the 10th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSR) between June 13 and June 16, 2012.

A stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel or artery to the brain, cutting off the oxygen-enriched blood that the brain receives. Stroke researchers have been working on treatments that repair the brain tissue that was damaged during the stroke.

The PISCES trial study is a controversial stem cell treatment because the genetically engineered neural stem cells used for the study originated nearly ten years ago from the tissue of a twelve-week-old fetus. These stem cells have been named ReN001.

For the study, researchers treated twelve men all over the age of sixty who have moderate to severe functional neurological impairments resulting from strokes with four different doses of the controversial stem cell treatment. Six of the patients have received low doses of the stem cells.

So far, five of the six men have exhibited some promising improvements from the controversial stem cell treatment but with no adverse side effects, either from the stem cells or from the immune system. The other six men will begin treatments with higher doses of stem cells in the coming months.

As reported on Medical News Today, Professor Keith Muir, SINAPSE Professor of Clinical Imaging, Division of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Glasgow, told the press:

“We remain pleased and encouraged by the data emerging from the PISCES study to date.”


“The data indicate that the ReN001 treatment has a good safety profile at the doses administered thus far. The preliminary signals of potential functional benefit, whilst intriguing, will require further investigation in a suitably designed Phase II efficacy study. The clinical team looks forward to dosing patients in the remaining higher dose cohorts in the PISCES study over the coming months.”

Stroke is the third largest cause of death in adults and is the largest cause of disabilities in adults in developed countries. The researchers remain hopeful that this new controversial stem cell treatment will help improve the lives of the hundreds of thousands of individuals who suffer from a stroke each year.

Do you support the controversial stem cell treatment that shows promising results for improving symptoms in stroke patients?