A stroke victim has regained the power of speech after doctors placed a device resembling a teabag filled with stem cells in his brain.
Genetically modified stem cells fitted into a kind of ‘tea bag’ are implanted to the patient’s brain where they are supposed to have an anti-inflammatory effect Photo: EPA
Walter Bast, 49, also regained the use of his right arm after the revolutionary treatment, which prevents brain cells from dying.
If further trials of the treatment are successful, it could be on the market in as little as five years, providing fresh hope for the 45,000 Britons each year who suffer a haemorrhagic stroke, where a blood vessel in the brain bursts.
Currently, the only option is surgery, which has a variable success rate. Half of surgery patients will die within a month and just one in 20 patients will recover to the extent of Mr Bast.
The pioneering treatment, called CellBeads, involves cutting away part of the skull to tie off leaking blood vessels and remove blood from the brain.
Surgeons then insert the 2cm by 2cm ‘teabag’ filled with capsules stuffed with around a million stem cells.
The stem cells, taken from bone marrow, have been genetically engineered to make a drug known as CM1 that protects brain cells from dying. This lets the cells rejuvenate and repair the damage done by the stroke.
After around two weeks, doctors at the International Neuroscience-Institute in Hanover, Germany, removed the ‘teabag’, resulting in Mr Bast regaining his speech and the use of his right arm.
Speaking a week after the operation, the first of its kind in the world, Mr Bast, a mechanic, said: “I feel a lucky guy.”
Read moreMiracle teabag – containing stem cells – helps stroke victim to speak again