Neurotransplantation of fetal porcine cells in patients with basal ganglia infarcts: a preliminary safety and feasibility study

Cerebrovasc Dis. 2005;20(2):101-7. doi: 10.1159/000086518. Epub 2005 Jun 21.


Background: Cell transplantation is safe in animal models and enhances recovery from stroke in rats.

Methods: We studied the safety and feasibility of fetal porcine transplantation in 5 patients with basal ganglia infarcts and stable neurological deficits. To prevent rejection, cells were pretreated with an anti-MHC1 antibody and no immunosuppressive drugs were given to the patients.

Results: The first 3 patients had no adverse cell, procedure, or imaging-defined effects. The fourth patient had temporary worsening of motor deficits 3 weeks after transplantation, and the fifth patient developed seizures 1 week after transplantation. MRI in both patients demonstrated areas of enhancement remote from the transplant site, which resolved on subsequent imaging. Two patients showed improvement in speech, language, and/or motor impairments over several months and persisted at 4 years. The study was terminated by the FDA after the inclusion of 5 patients.

Conclusion: This is the first report on the transplantation of nontumor cells in ischemic stroke patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Basal Ganglia / diagnostic imaging
  • Basal Ganglia Cerebrovascular Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Basal Ganglia Cerebrovascular Disease / therapy*
  • Cell Transplantation* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Fetal Tissue Transplantation*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurons / transplantation*
  • Neurosurgical Procedures
  • Pregnancy
  • Stereotaxic Techniques
  • Swine
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Transplantation, Heterologous* / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Immunosuppressive Agents