Stroke Fact Sheet
CIRM funds many projects that are investigating the basic biology of neuronal diseases. These more basic projects could lead to therapies in a wide range of diseases effecting the nervous sytem, including stroke. Additional CIRM-funded research focuses specifically on developing new therapies for the disease.
If you want to learn more about CIRM funding decisions or make a comment directly to our board, join us at a public meeting. You can find agendas for upcoming public meetings on our meetings page.
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CIRM does not track stem cell clinical trials. If you or a family member is interested in participating in a clinical trial, please see the national trial database to find a trial near you: clinicaltrials.gov
Stem cell research for stroke
In the U.S., almost 800 million people have a stroke each year and more than 140,000 people die of their stroke. It is the leading cause of serious, long-term disability in the U.S.
Stroke occurs when a blood clot blocks a vessel in the brain and cuts off blood flow. Brain cells begin to die within minutes when they are deprived of oxygen and nutrients. A less common kind of stroke involves a burst blood vessel that bleeds into the brain, also killing brain cells. Losing these brain cells can cause permanent problems with movement and cognitive abilities such as memory, attention span even speaking or understanding speech.
A stroke requires immediate treatment. Signs of stroke include sudden onset of numbness of the face, arm or leg, confusion, blurred vision, dizziness or headache. Doctors can intervene by dissolving the clot and restoring blood flow or stopping the bleeding.
After a stroke, intensive physical therapy can help people regain some lost function. However, there is currently no therapy to restore the brain cells that have died as a result of the stroke.
Stem cell scientists are attempting to use different types of stem cells including tissue-specific neural stem cells, embryonic stem cells and reprogrammed iPS cells to replace cells lost during a stroke. They are testing the different cell types in animal models of stroke to see which are best able to restore movement. They also need to learn the best way of delivering those cells into the brain. Around the country, several clinical trials are underway testing different type of cells and different delivery methods. Other researchers are seeing if it’s possible to activate the stem cells in the brain to repair the damage.
The Stanford University-led team plans to use cells generated from human embryonic stem cells to improve recovery in the weeks and months following a stroke. The team will first mature the embryonic stem cells into the kind of neural stem cells that make the cells that are normally found in the brain. The team has found that transplanting these neural stem cells into mice or rats after a stroke helps the animals regain strength in their limbs. The team is now trying to develop these neural stem cells into a therapy that they can test in human clinical trials.
CIRM Grants Targeting Stroke
CIRM Stroke Videos
News and Information
- A Stroke for Stem Cells (Scientific American)
- Stem Cells Replace Stroke-Damaged Tissue In Rats (Science Daily)
- Stem Cells Fill Gap Left By Stroke, Says Stanford Researcers (Stanford)