Doctors from the Texas Heart Institute (THI) at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital presented the results of a multi-center clinical study that measured the possible benefits of using a patient’s own (autologous) bone marrow cells to repair damaged areas of the heart suffering from severe heart failure, a condition that affects millions of Americans. Their presentation was made at this year’s American College of Cardiology’s 61st Annual Scientific Session in Chicago.
The study, which was the largest such investigation to date, found that the hearts of the patients receiving bone-marrow derived stem cells showed a small but significant increase in the ability to pump oxygenated blood from the left ventricle, the heart’s main pumping chamber, to the body.
While this study used stem cells derived from a patient’s bone marrow, Dr. James Willerson one of the THI researchers, said that the results are even better when the stem cells are derived from fat, citing his experience in a number of studies.
According to Dr. Willerson, the question is no longer whether bone marrow cells work or don’t work (they do work when you have healthy stem cells) – the search now is to find the very best stem cell type or types.
“And at the moment, I’d say the best stem cells are fat-derived cells and stem cells that reside in the heart, called c-KIT positive stem cells,” he said before presenting research findings at the annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology in Chicago.
Although the study results are impressive, Dr. Willerson said the heart improvements in the trial paled in comparison to favorable results seen in a study presented last year that involved the use of fat-derived mesenchymal stem cells to treat patients with severe heart failure.
In that trial, he said patients had improved heart function that actually translated into a reduction in death, heart attack, and the need for rehospitalization.
Dr. Willerson said he and his colleagues hope that favorable trial results will ultimately convince U.S. health regulators that stem cell therapy is beneficial to heart patients and is safe.
This study out of Texas reinforces the thought that stem cells hold great promise in treating a variety of diseases and conditions.Some conditions, such as joint, tendon and muscle injury, are treatable now with stem cells.Other conditions, such as ALS, diabetes, heart disease and MS, appear to be treatable, but widespread treatment is still in the near-future.
Dennis M. Lox, MD, has been sucessfully preforming stem cell therapy for several years. Dr. Lox is located in the Tampa bay area in Clearwater, Florida
Information contained in this blog is intended for educational purposes only and not for medical diagnosis or treatment.If you have a medical concern or issue, please consult with your physician.