For Patients Neurology

Using Cord Blood Treatment for Ischemic Stroke Recovery

Written by Dr. Nils H. Thoennissen, Neurologist at CBC Health Clinic in Munich, Germany.

Umbilical cord blood is remarkable. It’s packed with stem cells that are currently being used to treat over 85 diseases, with more research underway. Cord blood is also proving very useful in treating strokes, an effective way to bring about ischemic stroke recovery. Here’s some insight. 

The magic of umbilical cord blood

Umbilical cord blood is a promising source of stem and progenitor cells. They’re being used in new regenerative cell therapies, and trials reveal infusing cord blood can noticeably help ischemic stroke survivors. The treatment helps to improve people’s cognition as well as their physical health, and it looks like it comes with genuine long-term effectiveness, even when the treatment takes place two years after a person suffered stroke.

About Umbilical Cord Blood Therapy

The therapy usually involves transplanting hematopoietic stem cells to treat blood disorders. Now it’s being used for novel applications, a powerful kind of cellular regenerative therapy. Now cord blood has become one of the biggest success stories in regenerative medicine, used to treat a growing number of chronic degenerative diseases. In theory as many as 128 million people in the US might benefit from the treatment (Harris DT et al. 2007).

What is the main focus of Umbilical Cord Blood Therapy?

Several recent clinical have revealed improvements in reperfusion and in the markers of organ recovery thanks to Umbilical Cord Blood and the cells derived from it. It also appears to be a very safe treatment. 

Are Umbilical Cord Cells different from Stem Cells? 

Umbilical Cord Cells contain multiple pluripotent stem cells and progenitor cells, more than other sources. They contain mononuclear cells, platelets, regenerative proteins, and many more anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory chemicals including exosomes. As a result Umbilical Cord Blood is great for creating hematopoietic, epithelial, endothelial, and nerve tissues. 

The stem cell and non-stem cell elements of the blood come with unique immunological properties which means medics can use allogeneic cells in regeneration without influencing or compromising the patient’s immune system. 

The past three decades have seen the therapy proven beyond doubt. Cord blood contains more diverse populations of high yields of pluri- and multipotent stem cells than other stem cell sources, have a longer life span, proliferate better, and are safer in the long term thanks to excellent immunotolerance. They’re also useful in non-cellular ‘chaperoning’ organ-restorative secretome thanks to their great anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties. 

What diseases do Umbilical Cord Cells work best for? 

Modifying inflammation, angiogenesis, and neurogenesis are all indicated by research, which means one of the main uses of Cord Blood is improving the regeneration process in patients with stroke, cerebral palsy and/or after a traumatic brain injury. 

When is the best time for a patient to think about Cord Blood treatment?  

The answer is as soon as possible after the onset of ischemia, simply because Umbilical Cord Blood intervention has such strong immunoregulatory and neuroprotective impacts. Neuroregeneration produces effects 6 months or more after the injury. 

Can Cord Blood be used to treat other conditions? 

Yes, it looks like it can. As well as strokes and cerebral palsy, the treatment may help with neurological diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s, and also others including diabetes mellitus, cardiac and rheumatic diseases and hepatitis.

What are the most common results of the treatment? 

In the months after intravenous application of Cord Blood we see improvements in gross and fine motor function, cognitive function, speech, social behaviour, and the frequency and intensity of seizures. 

Are there any negative effects or side effects?  

Umbilical Cord Blood is one of the most frequently used sources in regenerative medicine and it’s known to be safe, reliable and effective. Side effects are rare, usually short term, and mostly allied to Dimethylsulfoxide, a cryoprotective agent that dissolves fast in the body. Premedication before treatment reduces the frequency and intensity of these side effects.

Is it painful?  

The process is non-invasive and has been used in transplants for more than 30 years. It’s a very safe intravenous procedure involving inserting a cannula tube into a vein. Like any injection there’s a small amount of pain but this can be dealt with using a cooling spray or numbing cream. 

How are the results monitored?  

The doctor will remotely monitor the patient with follow-up consultations up to 12 months after the treatment. 

How long does the treatment take?

Adult patients usually need 2 days of treatment, 2-3 hours each day.  

What is a typical patient experience?  

It’s a straightforward three-step experience:  

  • A detailed, careful personal evaluation
  • Premedication via IV 
  • The Umbilical Cord Blood infusion itself – a relaxing, simple procedure 

Advice for people thinking about treatment

It’s important to source an experienced expert for the treatment. The source and compounds used vary, as does the number of cells used per patient. It’s also wise to look for testimonials from happy patients. 

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Book an appointment with Dr. Nils H. Thoennissen