Author Interview: Dr. Sean Savitz, MD, on “Intravenous Cellular Therapies for Acute Ischemic Stroke”
A conversation with Sean Savitz, MD, Frank M. Yatsu M.D. Chair in Neurology, Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, on stem cell therapies for acute ischemic stroke.
Interviewed by Mark R. Etherton, MD, PhD, Assistant in Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Instructor, Harvard Medical School.
They will be discussing the paper “Intravenous Cellular Therapies for Acute Ischemic Stroke,” published in the May issue of Stroke. The article is part of a Focused Update in Cerebrovascular Disease centered on stem cells and cell-based therapies.
Dr. Etherton: The data from MASTERS-1, as well as the animal studies, suggests a promising, immunomodulatory role for MAPCs in ischemic stroke, as well as for cells derived from other tissue sources. Can you speak to the advantages/disadvantages of MAPCs over other cell types?
Dr. Savitz: There are several advantages that make MAPCs appealing. One is that they have been studied extensively in pre-clinical animal models and now quite a bit in clinical trials, which has resulted in a significant amount of safety data obtained from these rigorously designed trials. So, in designing a therapy for stroke, I am of the opinion that it is important to choose a therapy based around animal studies and solid testing in early stage trials. We are encouraged by the fact that the clinical studies suggest MAPCs are safe in humans, and we already see signals suggesting that, if given in the right time window, the cells are effective to improve outcomes. In this respect, there are few if any other cell types that have gone this far on the continuum from animal studies to an impending phase 3 trial.