Regenerative medicine: stroke survivor and carer views and motivations towards a proposed stem cell clinical trial using placebo neurosurgery

Nicola A. Cunningham*, Purva Abhyankar, Julie Cowie, Jayne Galinsky, Karen Methven

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
63 Downloads (Pure)


Background  Few studies explore stroke survivor views and motivations towards stem cell therapy (SCT). This qualitative study explores the views and motivations of both stroke survivors and their partners/carers towards a proposed 2-arm Phase III Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) comparing intracerebral insertion of stem cells with placebo neurosurgery in stroke survivors with disability.  Objective  To explore views and motivations towards a proposed 2-arm stem cell trial and identify factors that may impede and enhance participation.  Design  This study adopts a naturalistic design to explore the complexity of this field, employing a participatory action-research approach comprising a specialized Conversation (World) Café form of focus group. Data were collected via 5 Conversation Cafés with stroke survivors (age 40-75) and partners/carers between June and October 2016. Of 66 participants, 53 (31 male, 22 female) were stroke survivors and 13 (6 female, 7 male) were partners/carers. Qualitative data were analysed using a thematic approach.  Discussion and Conclusion  Stroke survivor views and motivations reflect anticipation of the personal and future benefits of regenerative medicine. Partners/carers sought to balance the value of stroke survivor hope with carrying the weight of hope as carer, a conflict burden adding to known caregiver burden. All participants expressed the need for during and post-trial psychological support. This study provides a rare opportunity to explore the prospective views and motivations of stroke survivors and their partners/carers towards a proposed Phase III 2-arm RCT. This adds weight to qualitative evidence exploring capacity, consent, decision making, perceptions of treatment risk and supports required for clinical trial participation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-378
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Expectations
Issue number1
Early online date12 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2018


  • caregiver burden
  • consent
  • regenerative medicine
  • treatment decision-making
  • prospective studies
  • stroke rehabilitation/methods
  • humans
  • middle aged
  • focus groups
  • survivors/psychology
  • male
  • neurosurgery
  • caregivers/psychology
  • stem cell transplantation
  • community-based participatory research
  • motivation
  • adult
  • female
  • aged
  • regenerative medicine/methods
  • stroke/psychology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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