Researchers testing drug made from stem cells for stroke recovery

Published: Aug. 19, 2019 at 4:05 PM EDT
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By: Ivanhoe Newswire

August 19, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. (

) -- It’s the fifth most common cause of death and the number one cause of long-term disability. We’re talking about stroke.

Now, researchers are conducting a new clinical trial called Pisces Three to see if a drug made from stems cells helps with stroke recovery.

A simple signature speaks volumes for Malena Buck. Buck had a stroke during Saint Petersburg College graduation: She couldn’t write her name, walk or even talk with her students.

Buck said, “I was walking in a walker for a long time. I couldn’t move my hand.”

But then, through a University of South Florida study, she had a drug made from stem cells injected in her brain at the University of Chicago. After her surgery, she was able to wave her hand again.

“I told the doctor and he goes they can’t work that fast but the minute I got out of surgery I could do things that I couldn’t do before, said Buck.

William Scott Burgin, MD, Professor & Division Director, Vascular Neurology at the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine says most patients can feel the effects of the stem cells gradually.

“Preliminary research has shown that in these circumstances its very encouraging that using these cells can aid recovery,” said Dr. Burgin.

Dr. Burgin says right now most stroke recovery treatments are limited to conventional therapy. He says there isn’t medication that helps with recovery.

“This would be kicking the door open to an entire new realm of possibilities for people with the most disabling medical condition that we come across in the world,” said Dr. Burgin.

After the surgery Buck’s life changed dramatically. “If it wasn’t for them or the stem cells, I would have just given up,” she said.

Participants in the clinical trial must be age 35 to 75 and have limited movements of their arms and legs 12 months after stroke. For more information, see


Contributors to this news report include: Emily Maza Gleason, Producer; Videographer, Chris Tilley; Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.