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.
It turns out he 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 which are given to the patient through IV.
"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," said Dr. Ken Uchino, a stroke neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic.
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 Little.
"We don't know fully whether this is in relation to the cells, but I can say he has done well," Uchino said.
Researchers hope with more study, this approach could become an option for stroke patients who miss that critical treatment window.
Little had to learn to walk again.
"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," he said.
The 49-year-old is grateful to be back to normal after his stroke.
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