MIAMI, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Some are calling it the next big frontier in cardiac treatment — injecting stem cells to regenerate the heart. But the experimental procedure means major surgery. Doctors are opening the door for heart patients who want to test the benefits of stem cells — without an operation.
One heart attack behind him, Max Eaton is now struggling with heart failure. He’s hoping stem cells are the answer to heal his ailing heart. “I happened to run into this article, which was the second or third time I heard about this stem cell research, and decided nothing ventured, nothing gained,” Eaton told Ivanhoe.
Instead of surgery, where the chest is opened and stem cells are injected into the heart, Alan W. Helman, M.D., an interventional cardiologist at the University of Miami, delivers the cells through a catheter that’s threaded through the groin. The spiral-shaped needle at the tip is screwed into the heart.
“We can now inject the cells exactly where we want to in the inside part of the heart, and we can do it in multiple different locations,” Joshua Hare, M.D., a cardiologist at the University of Miami, told Ivanhoe.
Doctors say it’s a more efficient way of delivering stem cells (…) Now, Eaton is hoping his wager on stem cells will pay off.
Doctors say Eaton is responding well to his stem cell treatment. All of the stem cells being used in this trial are adult stem cells. Studies have shown injecting heart attack patients with adult stem cells can increase the pumping power of the heart. However, it is not an approved treatment for re-growing heart tissue.
Full-length interview with Dr. Hare