According to a news release ProMedica and Stemmedica Cell Technologies have announced a joint program to advance treatment options for traumatic brain injuries (TBI). The program is called the Gordie Howe Initiative in honor of the famous hockey player, known as “Mr. Hockey.” In 2014, after suffering a stroke, Howe took part in a clinical trial using Stemmedica’s stem cell products which resulted in an improvement in his condition.
ProMedica cites data showing approximately 1.7 million people in the United States alone suffer a traumatic brain injury each year. With about 138 people dying each day in the United States, TBI contribute to about 30 per cent of all injury deaths. The economic cost alone of TBI’s in 2010 was estimated at 76.5 billion dollars.
This program over three years is designed to 1) raise awareness about TBI; 2) collect data and 3) work on potential advances in treatment. According to ProMedica “there is no viable solution currently available for treating TBI….” ProMedica goes on to state that stem cell research is advancing within the neurodegenerative field. Dr. Lee Hammerling, ProMedica’s chief medical officer stated, “There is encouraging preliminary evidence that stem cells may have a positive impact on enhancing the quality of life for individuals with TBI.”
Twenty four patients with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries will take part in the first phase of the study at ProMedica Toledo Hospital.
The program has been formed to fund a clinical trial to “help validate the safety and efficacy of the use of stem cells in the treatment of TBI.”