Researchers aim to restore heart using stem cells

(Stem Cells News image)

A first-of-its-kind study is just getting underway at University of Minnesota Physicians Heart at Fairview, in Minneapolis. The FDA-approved trial is designed to test the impact of stem cells on restoring the heart’s muscle function in patients suffering from advanced heart failure. The results of the trial could impact the future of health care in the area of heart disease, and may one day save lives (…)

“This trial is designed for heart failure patients in the end stage of heart failure, with no options for treatment,” explained Ganesh Raveendran, M.D., who is the principal investigator of the clinical trial. “The question this trial is designed to answer is whether or not patients on a left ventricular assist device with the stem cell component do better than patients with only the device, which right now is the standard care for patients experiencing advanced heart failure.”

The trial is currently enrolling qualified patients. All patients involved in the study will undergo a marrow harvest in which stem cells will be taken from the marrow of their own hip bone. Then, during implantation of the LVAD, two thirds of the patients enrolled in the study will receive an injection of their own stem cells. A third of the patients will be randomly assigned to the control group, and will receive only an LVAD and an injection of saline.

The trial is double-blind, meaning U of M researchers will not know which patients have received stem cells and which did not until the trial concludes (…)

Throughout the trial, Magnuson and the other patients will undergo a series of tests in which doctors slowly decrease the effort of the LVAD and place more pressure back on the heart’s own pumping function. The purpose of the tests is to assess the impact of the stem cells on restoring the functionality of heart muscle. Researchers want to know whether there is any improvement in the size of the heart and the pressure inside the heart chambers. The tests include echocardiograms, PET scans, walking assessments, blood pressure measurements and quality-of-life questioning (…)

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