Adult Stem Cell Therapy Blog

Injected stem cells repair heart for years

Friday, October 28, 2005 - Stem Cell Guru

VesCell Comment: This method of treating coronary artery disease is similar to the technique that Chaophya hospital currently employs. The main difference is that Vescell does not require taking bone marrow from the patient's hip bone to get the cells. VesCell therapy only requires the patient to donate a small amount of blood.

Infusions of a patient's own stem cells can regenerate heart damage for up to eight years after a heart attack, according to a new study.

The study, reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that the treatment increased left ventricular function and exercise capacity while decreasing the area of heart muscle damage in 18 patients given infusions of their own bone marrow stem cells.

"This new therapy is able to treat until now irreversible heart complaints and function disturbances in patients with chronic coronary artery disease after myocardial infarction, even many years after heart attack," says researcher Bodo E. Strauer of the Heinrich-Heine-University in Düsseldorf, Germany. "Therefore there is hope for this large amount of patients with previous myocardial infarction and non-treatable complaints."

A news release reports details of the study:

The researchers harvested bone marrow from the hip bones of the patients, so there was no threat of transplant rejection. After processing, stem cells from the marrow were infused through a catheter into the coronary artery where the patient's heart attack occurred.

"The main results were at least threefold: an improvement in global left ventricular function by 15 percent, infarction wall movement velocity rose 57 percent, and there was a significant reduction of infarct size by 30 percent. Concerning all those parameters, no significant changes were seen in a representative control group. Moreover, after bone marrow cell transplantation, an improvement of maximum oxygen uptake by 11 percent and of 18F-fluor-desoxy-glucose uptake by 15 percent, which represents myocardial metabolism and viability, into infarct tissue was observed," Dr. Strauer said.

"The stem cell therapy demonstrates that restoration is possible, clinically feasible and associated with an improvement of the performance of the heart by approximately 20 to 30 percent. This therapy is safe, similar to an 'own blood injection or transfusion,' and has no side effects. It needs only bone marrow puncture and cell aspiration with subsequent stem cell preparation," he said.

Larger trials are now underway that could verify the findings.

"It should be noted that until now only 18 patients have been transplanted and were compared to a representative control group. This means that we need to concentrate on a larger, prospective randomized controlled trial in order to strengthen the statistical power of the positive results," says Strauer.


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