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Neuroscience Researchers Studying Stem Cells for Acute Stroke


Advancing Stroke Care: Marcus Neuroscience Institute Researchers Study Stem Cell Treatment for Acute Stroke

Brian Snelling, M.D.

Brian Snelling, M.D.

Stroke remains a leading cause of death and disability worldwide, making the search for effective treatments and interventions a top priority.

Doctors with Marcus Neuroscience Institute, part of Baptist Health, established at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, are studying a potential new therapy for acute stroke treatment.

Brian Snelling, M.D., currently serves as director of Cerebrovascular and Endovascular Neurosurgery and director of the stroke program at Marcus Neuroscience Institute. He is also the local principal investigator for a multi-site study testing the safety and dosing of NCS-01 — human bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells — to treat acute stroke.

The NCS-01 study, titled “A Phase 1/2 Randomized Study to Evaluate the Safety and Tolerability of Intracarotid Artery Administration of NCS-01 in Patients with Acute Ischemic Stroke,” is sponsored by NC Medical Research, Inc.

Marcus Neuroscience Institute is one of just six U.S. sites participating in the NCS-01 study.


About the NCS-01 study

“NCS-01 has shown promise in animal models for treating acute stroke,” Dr. Snelling says. “These studies have shown a potential for reducing infarct volume following reperfusion and aiding the brain recovering.”

The NCS-01 study at Marcus Neuroscience Institute will evaluate NCS-01 in humans. This study is one of many steps on the path toward Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Following this Phase I and II research, the FDA requires a Phase III trial to assess NCS-01 efficacy.

“While the NCS-01 study is still considered early-stage research, it represents a chance to push the boundaries of stroke treatment and potentially improve the quality of life for those who have experienced a stroke,” Dr. Snelling says. “We see this as a crucial steppingstone in developing new treatments for acute stroke.”

Eligible patients include adults ages 18-85 with acute stroke who undergo mechanical thrombectomy to remove their clot but still have a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Stroke Scale score of greater than six.

Enrolled patients will receive an injection of either stem cells or a placebo directly into their middle cerebral artery.

A post-thrombectomy NIH Stroke Scale score of six or greater indicates unresolved deficits that could benefit from new therapeutic options,” Dr. Snelling says. “While this study focuses on safety and dose-finding, we hope NCS-01 will prevent further brain damage and promote recovery post-stroke.”


Expanding the acute stroke treatment window

Dr. Farrah Wolf

Dr. Farrah Wolf

The 48-hour window is crucial in the context of stroke care, Dr. Snelling says.

Intervention within 48 hours from a person’s “last known well” state can mean the difference between a return to normal function and permanent disability.

Dr. Farrah Wolf, a neurointerventional radiologist at Boca Raton Regional Hospital and study investigator, enrolled and treated the first patient in the stem cell study. “Stroke trials at Marcus Neuroscience Institute represent our effort to expand the list of currently available stroke therapies — which primarily involve clot-busting medications and catheter-based clot retrieval,” adds Dr. Wolf.

“Our work also offers the potential to expand the treatment window for acute stroke care, which is particularly important for patients in rural areas who may not have immediate care access.”


Referring patients for the NCS-01 study

To learn more about the NCS-01 trial at Marcus Neuroscience Institute visit NCT03915431

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