HealthDay News — An experimental treatment combining transplanted neural stem cells with the protein 3K3A-APC shows it may be possible to reverse brain damage after a stroke, according to a study published online Aug. 22 in Nature Medicine.

In mice, the protein triggered the stem cells to become functioning neurons. “We showed that 3K3A-APC helps the grafted stem cells convert into neurons and make structural and functional connections with the host’s nervous system,” senior author Berislav Zlokovic, MD, PhD, director of the Zilkha Neurogenetic Institute at the University of Southern California, said in a university news release. Zlokovic is also a scientific founder of ZZ Biotech, a company that is developing treatments with the protein used in this trial.

Zlokovic and his team now want to conduct a clinical trial to test whether this therapy is effective in stroke patients. If it’s successful, they plan to test the therapy in treating other neurological conditions, such as spinal cord injuries.

In an ongoing clinical trial funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, 3K3A-APC alone is being given to patients within a few hours of ischemic stroke, to determine if the protein can help protect against brain damage.

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