Two-year safety and clinical outcomes in chronic ischemic stroke patients after implantation of modified bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (SB623): a phase 1/2a study

J Neurosurg. 2018 Nov 23;1-11. doi: 10.3171/2018.5.JNS173147. Online ahead of print.


Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and clinical outcomes associated with stereotactic surgical implantation of modified bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (SB623) in patients with stable chronic ischemic stroke.

Methods: This was a 2-year, open-label, single-arm, phase 1/2a study; the selected patients had chronic motor deficits between 6 and 60 months after nonhemorrhagic stroke. SB623 cells were administered to the target sites surrounding the subcortical stroke region using MRI stereotactic image guidance.

Results: A total of 18 patients were treated with SB623 cells. All experienced at least 1 treatment-emergent adverse event (TEAE). No patients withdrew due to adverse events, and there were no dose-limiting toxicities or deaths. The most frequent TEAE was headache related to the surgical procedure (88.9%). Seven patients experienced 9 serious adverse events, which resolved without sequelae. In 16 patients who completed 24 months of treatment, statistically significant improvements from baseline (mean) at 24 months were reported for the European Stroke Scale (ESS) score, 5.7 (95% CI 1.4-10.1, p < 0.05); National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score, -2.1 (95% CI -3.3 to -1.0, p < 0.01), Fugl-Meyer (F-M) total score, 19.4 (95% CI 9.9-29.0, p < 0.01); and F-M motor scale score, 10.4 (95% CI 4.0-16.7, p < 0.01). Measures of efficacy reached plateau by 12 months with no decline thereafter. There were no statistically significant changes in the modified Rankin Scale score. The size of transient lesions detected by T2-weighted FLAIR imaging in the ipsilateral cortex at weeks 1-2 postimplantation significantly correlated with improvement in ESS (0.619, p < 0.05) and NIHSS (-0.735, p < 0.01) scores at 24 months.

Conclusions: In this completed 2-year phase 1/2a study, implantation of SB623 cells in patients with stable chronic stroke was safe and was accompanied by improvements in clinical outcomes.Clinical trial registration no.: NCT01287936 (

Keywords: ESS = European Stroke Scale; F-M = Fugl-Meyer; FMMS = Fugl-Meyer motor scale; HLA = human leukocyte antigen; NIHSS = National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale; PISCES = Pilot Investigation of Stem Cells in Stroke; SAE = serious adverse event; SB623 cells; TEAE = treatment-emergent adverse event; bone marrow–derived mesenchymal stem cells; mRS = modified Rankin Scale; phase 1/2a study; stable chronic stroke; stereotactic transplantation; vascular disorders.

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