Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Grandad Leonard Proves a Patient Pioneer

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Grandad Leonard Proves a Patient Pioneer

Article excerpt

A GREAT granddad has become the first North East patient to take part in the world's first fully regulated clinical trial of direct stem-cell therapy for strokes.

Grandfather-of-five Leonard McCourt, 77, had the pioneering stem-cell procedure as part of the trial, and was ready to go home just four days later.

The trial, called PISCES, examines the effects of stem-cell treatment, when given to people who have been left with brain and limb impairments following a stroke where the blood supply to the brain becomes blocked.

The hope is the treatment will help those affected regain their independence, even with the most simple of tasks such as buttoning and unbuttoning a shirt.

Dr Anand Dixit, a consultant physician at Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary, said: "There is currently very little research supporting useful intervention in patients once neurological disability has been established weeks to months after stroke."

Mr McCourt, a former printer from Newcastle's West End, recalled what happened when he realised he had had a stroke.

He said: "I'd just got back from a trip to the coast and when I got out the car I felt a bit dizzy and wobbly. I went into the flat I lived in at the time and started to make something to eat while watching the TV.

"I suddenly realised I couldn't work the remote with my left hand and I still felt a bit wobbly so decided to go to bed to see if I could sleep it off.

"When I tried to get up, I collapsed to the floor. The whole of my left side just wouldn't work."

Mr McCourt managed to get to his phone and dial 999. The ambulance came and luckily he had a window open so could throw the keys down to the paramedics.

He was taken immediately to the RVI where tests revealed he had suffered a stroke.

Mr McCourt stayed on the Cherryburn Unit until the end of March this year and has made a relatively good recovery. …

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