ReNeuron Group PLC (RENE.LN) said its stem-cell therapy aided the rehabilitation of patients who had been disabled by a stroke, adding to a small but growing body of evidence that such an approach holds promise.
U.K.-based ReNeuron said 15 patients in its 21-person study had a “clinically significant response” on at least one of the three commonly-used scales for assessing improvements following treatment.
Chief Executive Olav Hellebø said he was “particularly excited” that the treatment seemed to help patients perform daily tasks as this was the measure most prized by regulators in Europe and the U.S. The treatment, dubbed CTX, involves having stem cells injected into the brain near the site affected by the stroke.
The company said it would now apply to regulators in Europe and the U.S. to start a larger trial.
Stem-cell therapy, if proven successful, would constitute a rare breakthrough for stroke medicine. Blood-clot busting treatments given in the immediate aftermath of a stroke can minimize damage, but there are currently no other therapies available for stroke, according to Alessandra Granata, a researcher at the University of Cambridge.
Other groups are making progress. Earlier this year, a small clinical trials by researchers at Japanese biotech SanBio Co. suggested that stem-cell therapy had potential to aid stroke patients’ rehabilitation. Another small study using SanBio’s treatment, by researchers at Stanford University, had positive results.
Athersys Inc., a Cleveland, Ohio-based company using stem-cell therapy in stroke patients, plans to start enrolling patients into a phase-three clinical trial next year. Its therapy–given within 36 hours of a stroke–is aimed at preventing damage rather than rehabilitation.