Cuba studies stem cells, stroke cure

Havana, Mar 12 (Prensa Latina) Important studies of neural transplants with stem cells for the treatment of brain infarctions were presented in the 2009 International Conference of Neurological Restoration meeting in this capital.

One of the speakers, Klaus G. Reymann of the Liebniz Neurobiology Institute in Germany explained that although the investigations are in the clinical phase, there is confidence that this technique may improve recovery in patients.

The specialists consider that an infusion of stem cells of the patient, about five or nine days after the brain infarction will contribute to recover part of the area affected and increase quality of life.

Cuba also develops research protocols on the procedure, explained doctor Emilio Villa Acosta, deputy director of the International Center of Neurological Restoration (CIREN) and member of the organizing committee of the event.

The scientist explained that these modified stem cells that become neurons are implanted in areas of the brain through precise surgery that allows exact access to place the cells without causing lesions in the patient.

The Wednesday session of the conference also included presentations on the Cuban program of surgery in epilepsy for patients who reject conventional treatment. This procedure eliminates crises and, in very complicated cases, reduces them to a minimum that improves their way of life, noted doctor Lilia Morales Chacon, head of the program.

She also informed that more than 100 persons have been evaluated and of these 25 received surgery, while most are free of crises.

The procedure is very complex since it requires a deep pre-surgical study that is very costly and included a clinical, psychological, psychiatric examination and diagnosis is made through imagery and electroencephalogram, she added.