Adult Stem Cell Therapy Blog

Heart Failure Patients Take Part In Stem Cell Research

Monday, June 05, 2006 - Stem Cell Guru

A patient who received adult stem cell therapy for severe heart disease was recently featured on the Pittsburgh Channel website. The full article is reprinted below:

Heart Failure Patients Take Part In Stem Cell Research

Imagine struggling just to walk to the mailbox or stay awake. That's the way it is for millions of people with heart failure.

An experimental heart surgery that uses stem cells could change the way those people live. For the first time in six years, Richard Howell is enjoying retirement. Heart failure had left him too weak to leave his living room and at risk for complications, including organ failure.

Howell: "I'd get up and walk across the kitchen. I would be short of breath." Nothing seemed to help, so he agreed to an experimental heart surgery. Stem cells, taken from his thigh muscle, are injected into his heart.
Dr. Stephen Ellis, The Cleveland Clinic: "Mr. Howell received 18 separate injections encompassing about 200 million cells."

We all have stem cells. Researchers are learning some can be taken from a healthy part of the body and used in another part that is struggling. Ellis: "By giving these cells, the hope is the heart muscle will function better, contract better."

That hope cannot be confirmed without a long-term study of Howell and dozens like him. Earlier studies show there are risks. Ellis: "Some of the early patients have had arrhythmias or bad rapid heart rhythms that are potentially lethal." Howell understood those risks when he agreed to this procedure. Howell: "Whether it works or doesn't work, I've got to give it a try. I can't go on the rest of my life like this."

Six weeks after surgery, Howell is out of his living room and on the beach. How long will his heart stay strong? No one knows. But he's happy to have a second chance for a healthy retirement. It will take another two years to see if this experimental heart surgery works for people with heart failure. If it does, they will then seek Food and Drug Administration approval.


Blogger Rex Hester said...

My brother has an Ejection Fraction of less than 15. He is 55 years old. Is there a trial he can get into anywhere in the US for Stem cell treatment? Rex Hester 919 770 9191

5:47 AM  

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