The song “Take another little piece of my heart” by Janis Joplin has new meaning today as doctors in Los Angeles have taken Adult Stem Cells directly from a heart attack patient’s heart and used those stem cells to treat the patient in an adult stem cell research study.
As part of a Phase 1 clinical research study, Dr. Eduardo Marban, of Ceders Sinai Hospital, did a minimally invasive biopsy and took a piece of Kenneth Milles heart muscle after Kenneth had suffered a heart attack.
The piece of his heart was sent to a lab where the Adult Stem Cells were cultivated to produce millions of Kenneth’s heart stem cells. 4 weeks later, the stem cells were implanted back into Kenneth’s heart muscle. The goal to help regenerate the damaged heart tissue from the heart attack.
From the stem cell article:
“We seek to actually reverse the injury that has been caused by the heart attack, by re-growing new heart muscle to at least partially replace the scar that’s formed,” says Dr. Eduardo Marban of Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.
Doctors are using stem cells, the body’s master cells, because they can transform into different kinds of tissue.
Marban says, “These cells that we’re putting in come from the heart itself, and are predestined to generate heart muscle and blood vessels.”
Other types of stem cells, like bone marrow, have been studied for heart repair, but with mixed results. Animal studies indicate heart stem cells do a better job. The problem is: the heart has so few stem cells that researchers have to grow more.
And they did grow more- doesn’t seem like that big a problem. Hopefully the money for this problem came from the California taxpayers- at least that would be the first positive that ever came out of their stem cell funding- using heart stem cells to help people. However, the cynic in me says that is not the case. I’m guessing it was privately funded.
Kenneth was the first patient treated with this method and the results are not in yet. However, why wouldn’t it work? The patient’s own Adult Stem Cells are used. The patient has nothing to lose.