Treating a heart attack with the patients’ own bone marrow stem cells boosts blood flow within the heart and may help reduce long-term complications, a new U.S. study finds.
The study included 31 patients who underwent angioplasty and stent placement after a heart attack. Within one week of the attacks, 16 of the patients received infusions of their own bone marrow cells into the coronary artery in which a blockage had caused the event.
The 16 patients received different amounts of bone marrow stem cells — 5 million, 10 million and 15 million cells. The 15 patients in the control group received standard medication only. All the patients were followed for up to five years.
After three to six months, patients who received higher doses of bone marrow stem cells showed greater improvement in blood flow within the heart than patients who received lower doses and those in the control group, the researchers said.
A 41-site clinical trial, testing the restorative effect that adult bone marrow stem cells have on damaged or injured myocardium in heart attack patients, is being led at Wake Forest Baptist by Sanjay Gandhi, MD.
Phase I of the research study found that stem cells derived from bone marrow (mesenchymal stem cells) were safe for patients and may have the ability to limit scar formation, improve heart function and preserve tissue following a first heart attack.
Phase I was a multicenter study of 53 patients which demonstrated that the treatment was safe in adults, and those patients given this stem cell therapy actually experienced improvement in their overall ejection fraction. The earlier phase of the study showed that these mesenchymal stem cells could target the damaged myocardial tissue and initiate a process for recovery of heart muscle that could hopefully result in improvement of the overall heart.
Wake Forest is currently participating in a Phase II multicenter study investigating the efficacy of a one-time infusion of adult bone marrow stem cells in heart attack patients. Patients who experience a first time heart attack and undergo coronary angioplasty and stenting are eligible. Investigators are studying whether treatment with stem cells results in less heart muscle damage and improved heart function following a heart attack.
Wake Forest Baptist is the only trial site in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
New research has found that stem cells derived from human cord blood could be an effective alternative in repairing heart attacks.
At least 20 million people survive heart attacks and strokes every year, according to World Health Organisation estimates, but many have poor life expectancy and require continual costly clinical care. The use of patient’s own stem cells may repair heart attacks, although their benefit may be limited due to scarce availability and ageing. The researchers have found heart muscle-like cells grown using stem cells from human umbilical cord blood could help repair heart muscle cells damaged by a heart attack.
The study, led by Professor Raimondo Ascione, Chair of Cardiac Surgery & Translational Research in the School of Clinical Sciences at the University of Bristol, is published online in Stem Cell Reviews & Reports.
The study, funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), found that it is possible to expand up to seven-fold, in vitro, rare stem cells (called CD133+) from human cord blood and then grow them into cardiac muscle cells.
The findings could have major implications on future treatment following a heart attack given that cells obtained from adults following a heart attack may be less functional due to ageing and risk factors.
Professor Ascione said: “We believe our study represents a significant advancement and overcomes the technical hurdle of deriving cardiac muscle-type cells from human cord blood. The method we have found has the attributes of simplicity and consistency. This will permit more robust manipulation of these cells towards better cell homing and cardiac repair in patients with myocardial infarction.
Incoming search terms:cell division in cardiac muscles.
Fat around the waist is commonly seen as a contributing factor to heart attack. Ironically, a company is now testing whether adult stem cells from fat could help prevent long-term damage after a heart attack.
A new medical team is now investigating whether adult stem cells harvested from a person’s own fat, delivered shortly after a heart attack, could prevent some of the cardiac muscle damage that results from blocked arteries.
During a heart attack, blood vessels that deliver blood to the heart muscle are blocked. The lack of oxygen slowly kills the tissue. San Diego-based Cytori Therapeutics has developed a treatment that aims to prevent much of that muscle damage before it starts.
The procedure involves injecting concentrated slurry of adult stem cells and other regenerative cells isolated from the patient’s body directly into the heart’s main artery within 24 hours after an attack.
“Time is muscle. The quicker you get in, the better,” Christopher Calhoun, Cytori’s chief executive officer says. “You can’t do anything about dead tissue, but tissue that’s bruised and damaged-that’s revitalizable. If you can get new blood flow in there, that tissue comes back to life.”
Until recently, when a patient suffering a heart attack arrived at a hospital, doctors could open the blocked blood vessel and restore blood flow to prevent further damage. But there was nothing they could do to reverse the harm already done. That damage — scarring that can kill up to 50 percent of the heart — leaves patients with difficulty breathing, loss of energy and the inability to do things such as walk up stairs. Some patients need transplants. And some end up with hearts so weak they die.
The solution: Now doctors can repair that damage. In U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved trials, a number of hospitals across the country have been injecting the patient’s stem cells into the heart and watching as the damaged muscle is restored to its previously healthy state. The weakened heart becomes pliable again. It contracts normally. And it pumps blood closer to the way it did before the heart attack. That research also found that the earlier the stem cells are injected, the better the heart repairs itself.
But there’s a downside to the treatment.