Researchers from the University of Georgia’s (UGA) Regenerative Bioscience Centre (RBC) in the US, and UGA’s startup company ArunA Biomedical, have developed a new treatment for stem-cell based stroke treatment that reduces brain damage.
The treatment is known as AB126 and has already been found to have increased the brain’s natural healing tendencies in animal models.
AB126 is based on extra-cellular vesicles (EV), fluid-filled structures known as exosomes, which are generated from human neural stem cells.
The regenerative EV therapy can fully cloak itself within the bloodstream and has the potential to overcome the limitations of many cell therapies.
It also gives the ability for exosomes to carry and deliver multiple doses, as well as the capacity to store and administer treatment.
According to the researchers, the tiny tubular shape of an exosome enables EV therapy to cross limitations that cells cannot.
The research was led by UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences professor Steven Stice and Nasrul Hoda from Augusta University in the US.
Stice said: “This is truly exciting evidence, because exosomes provide a stealth-like characteristic, invisible even to the body’s own defences.
“When packaged with therapeutics, these treatments can actually change cell progression and improve functional recovery.”
As part of the latest research, the researchers used MRI scans to measure brain atrophy rates in preclinical, age-matched stroke models, after administering AB126.
The models demonstrated an approximate 35% decrease in the size of injury and a 50% reduction in brain tissue loss, which was not observed in previous studies of exosome treatment for stroke.
Based on the pre-clinical results from a separate study undertaken by UGA animal and dairy science associate professor Franklin West and his fellow RBC members using a porcine model of stroke, ArunA Biomedical intends to begin human clinical trials of AB126 as early as next year.