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Randomized Assessment of the Safety and Efficacy of Intra-Arterial Infusion of Autologous Stem Cells in Subacute Ischemic Stroke


Stroke is a debilitating illness for which treatment window is limited. Most patients present to the healthcare facility beyond that window. Autologous stem cells have shown some promise for this group of patients. This study was performed to evaluate the safety and the efficacy of intra-arterial infusion of bone marrow– derived mononuclear cells in patients with middle cerebral artery ischemic stroke.
A prospective, randomized, open-label, blinded–end point study was performed from July 2015 to June 2016. Of 229 patients with acute stroke who presented to the hospital during this period, 20 patients who satisfied the inclusion/exclusion criteria were included and randomized into the control and intervention groups. Intra-arterial stem cell infusion into the ipsilateral MCA was performed in the patients in the intervention group at 8 –15 days post-stroke ictus. Final analysis at 6 months was performed for primary (safety) and secondary outcomes (efficacy). When we compared the primary end point of the study, no procedure related mortality, complication, new infarct, or symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage was seen in the intervention group. When we compared the secondary end point of good clinical outcome, 8 (80%) patients in the intervention group showed good clinical outcome (modified Rankin Scale score 2) with 4 (40%) patients in the control group achieving this (95% confidence interval for good outcome in patients with stem cell infusion, 49.03–94.3, and without stem cell infusion, 16.82–68.73; P .068). Intra-arterial infusion of stem cells can be carried out safely in the subacute stage of ischemic stroke. Improved clinical outcomes were observed with intra-arterial stem cell therapy; however, studies with larger cohorts are needed to validate the results.

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