Stem cells may be key to stroke recovery

Stroke victims have only about three hours to get to a hospital and receive essential blood-clot dissolving drugs that can help with survival and offer a greater chance for recovery. Sadly, only a fraction of stroke victims seek and receive treatment within that time frame, making stroke is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. and the leading cause of serious, long-term disability among those who survive.

Kunlin Jin, MD, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology and Neuroscience, and his research team are replacing dead brain cells with stem cells in damaged areas of the brain of older subjects that have experienced a stroke. The team is using a technique called "tissue engineering" and "scaffolding" to inject stem cells into brain cavities affected by stroke. These stem cells release growth factors and generate new neurons that can migrate into damaged areas of the brain, helping rebuild injured tissue and stimulating brain recovery.

"Motor function has significantly improved in our research," said Jin, who received a $1 million, five-year grant from the National Institute of Health to help investigate his theories.

He recently collaborated with physicians in China in a cutting-edge clinical trial involving injecting more than two million stem cells into the damaged brain region of a 55-year-old patient who had suffered from a debilitating stroke four months earlier. As a result, the patient recovered significant motor skills and was able to stand, something he was not able to do after his stroke.

"Our goal is to use a patient’s own stem cells and scaffolds for tissue engineering to promote the recovery of brain tissue after stroke," Dr. Jin said. "Or there is also the possibility of transplanting stem cells from donors to create the same effect. Our hope is that stem cells may open a new avenue for the treatment of strokes and other brain diseases."

Recent News

Screenshot 2024 06 20 At 3.45.01 pm
  • Our People
|Jun 20, 2024

From sacrifice to success: a journey through physical therapy school

Ancelmo Mojarro came to Fort Worth to study. The Tyler native knew he wanted to be a physical therapist early on his undergraduate days. He embarked on his path to physical therapy a decade ago, inspired by a friend's suggestion amidst his quest to find his calling in the medical field. “I starte...
  • Our People
|Jun 20, 2024

HSC pro bono physical therapy program offers hope

For 70-year-old Beverly Rozanski, the journey to improved health has been long and challenging. Raised in Michigan, Rozanski spent her childhood and early adult years struggling with physical challenges that made even the simplest tasks seem insurmountable. However, her discovery of a pro bono p...
Mills John
  • Our People
|Jun 20, 2024

Team of experts from HSC and TCOM develop a national position statement for NCCHC on care for aging patients in correctional facilities

Addressing an overlooked and sometimes neglected patient population, a group of experts from The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth partnered with the National Commission on Correctional Health Care to write a “Care for Aging Patients in the Correctional Setting” posit...
Jennifer Fix 2 Purple
  • Education
|Jun 18, 2024

Pharmacy technician shortage driving force behind new, online prep course

A self-paced, online Pharmacy Technician Preparation Course is now being offered through The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth as a way to help combat the shortage of pharmacy technicians at hospitals, health systems and retail pharmacies. Recognized by the Pharmacy Tech...