(WFRV) -- For many victims of stroke, surviving is just the beginning. The other struggle is regaining complete motor function.
Now, doctors are looking at a way to reverse stroke effects.
Two million brain cells die every minute during a stroke. Doctors use clot-busting drugs to help prevent that from happening.
But Neurosurgeon, Doctor George Rappard says, after that, there's only a 15 to 20% chance of improvement.
"We've been very limited in fixing a stroke once it's happened. All we have is physical therapy," said Doctor Rappard.
Now, a first-of-its-kind trial is testing the use of a stroke patient's own stem cells to restore function.
"They are a population of cells you retain in your body that have the ability to turn into other things," Doctor Rappard said.
Doctors think the stem cells might act as instructive cells, telling the brain how to heal.
"We take the stem cells that your body normally uses to make red blood cells and separate those stem cells out of the bone marrow," says Doctor Rappard.
Doctors then inject them into the affected side of the brain through the groin.
In mice, there was a 40% improvement in motor skills, causing Dr. Rappard to say it's one of the most exciting things he's found in his field.
Only patients with Ischemic strokes will be eligible to participate in the clinical trial.