WEDNESDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDayNews) -- Stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood can help reduce stroke damage, claims a study by scientists at the Medical College of Georgia and the University of South Florida.
In research with laboratory animals, the scientists found that when the umbilical cord-derived stem cells were given intravenously along with the drug mannitol, which can penetrate the brain's protective blood-brain barrier, stroke size was reduced by 40 percent.
There was also a significant reduction in resulting stroke-related disability, according to the study, which is published in the October issue of Stroke.
"What we found was interesting, phenomenal, really," study author and neuroscientist Dr. Cesario V. Borlongan said in a prepared statement.
"We have two potential routes of delivery, intravenously through the jugular vein or directly transplanting the (stem) cells into the brain," Borlongan said.
Initial studies that compared the two approaches found the intravenous delivery was ineffective until used in combination with mannitol.
Another study in the same issue of Stroke found that 10 times or more the number of umbilical cord blood-derived stem cells would be needed to produce similar results if the stem cells were injected without mannitol.
Mannitol is a sugar alcohol and diuretic. Its uses include helping chemotherapy drugs reach the brain.
The Cleveland Clinic Foundation has more about stroke.