Doctors say they're having good results with an experimental treatment for stroke.
Clot-busting drugs can reverse the effects of a stroke, but only if you're treated within about three hours of the attack. Now, a new therapy may give patients who miss that deadline, another option for recovery.
Kristopher Little woke up three years ago and couldn't move his left side.
"I know it happened between 10 o'clock at night and 4:30 in the morning when my phone alarm went off for work. And I couldn't get out bed," he said.
He had suffered a stroke and by the time he got to the hospital it was too late for current treatments to work. Doctors told him about an experimental option at the Cleveland Clinic using stem cells.
The treatment called Multistem involves donor adult stem cells grown in the lab given to the patient through IV.
Stroke Neurologist Dr. Ken Uchino said, "The stem cells are believed to change the immune response of the body to the stroke. And it will turn down the immune response so there is a better healing environment."
A new study in the Journal Lancet Neurology looked at 129 patients. Half got the stem cells. Half a placebo. Researchers found those who received the cells within 36 hours had better recovery at one year including Kris.
"We don't know fully whether this is in relation to the cells, but I can say he has done well," Dr. Uchino said.
Kris had to learn to walk again. .
He said. "I can use my hand and everything and I can walk without a walker or cane or anything. I think I've done real good. "
The 49 year old is grateful to be back to normal.
Studies show less than 5-percent of stroke patients receive the current clot-busting drugs that are available.
Researchers hope with more study, the stem cell treatment could become an option for stroke patients who miss that critical treatment window.