Inclusion Criteria1. Age 21-85
2. NIHSS score 6-24 at time of enrollment, ensuring that stroke is neither mild nor devastating
3. Stroke is ischemic in origin, supratentorial, and radiologically confirmed
4. Patient is 24-48 hours from time of stroke onset at time that first dose of B-E therapy is administered. Time of onset is when symptoms began, and stroke occurred during sleep, time of onset is when patient was last seen to be normal.
5. Reasonable expectation of availability to receive the full 9 day B-E therapy course
6. Reasonable expectation that patient will receive standard post-stroke physical, occupational, speech, and cognitive therapy as indicated
Exclusion Criteria1. Pre-existing and active major psychiatric or other neurological disease
2. History of significant alcohol or drug abuse in the prior 3 years
3. Serum hemoglobin > 16 g/dL in a male patient or > 14 g/dL in a female patient; or a platelet count > 400,000/mm3 in either a male or female patient
4. Advanced liver, kidney, cardiac, or pulmonary disease; the former will be operationally defined as a serum bilirubin > 4 mg/dL, alkaline phosphatase > 250 U/L, SGOT > 150 U/L, SGPT >150 U/L, or creatinine > 3.5 mg/dL
5. Pregnancy or lactating; note that a negative pregnancy test will be required if the patient is a female in reproductive years, using a test that reliably detects beta-hCG levels > 25 with normal levels being < 8 IU/L.
6. Contraindication to study participation on the basis of any of the following:
1. Allergy or other contraindication to initiating either beta-hCG or Erythropoietin
2. Known hypersensitivity to mammalian cell-derived products or hypersensitivity to albumin
3. A known diagnosis of prostatic cancer; note that prostate specific antigen will be collected for retrospective assessment of safety, but will not be used to ascertain study eligibility
4. Dysuria of unexplained origin
5. Uncontrolled hypertension, defined in the context of acute stroke as blood pressure persistently above 220 mm Hg systolic or 120 diastolic despite antihypertensive therapy
7. Current use of either beta-hCG or Erythropoietin
8. Other condition known to elevate beta-hCG, active in the prior 24 months, e.g., choriocarcinoma or germ cell tumor
9. Terminal medical diagnosis consistent with survival < 1 year
10. Known hypercoagulable state, which for the purposes of this study will deficiency of proteins C, S, or antithrombin III; activated protein C resistance; prothrombin gene mutation; or an anti-phospholipid antibody syndrome as based on clinical and laboratory measures.