One Year After Heart Regeneration Therapy with Cardiac Stem Cells Long Term Results 2018
Stem Cell Therapy: Hope for Damaged Hearts
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Since the isolation of embryonic stem cells more than 15 years ago, I have been saying that stem cell therapy to repair damaged hearts is just around the corner. Over the years, that corner has gotten further and further away. After more than a decade of intensive research, and lots of hype, stem cells have not been approved to treat any form of heart disease in the United States. Encouraging preliminary results have led to later disappointments, and the promise of stem cell therapy for damaged hearts remains unfulfilled.
But think about that promise.
- Stem cell therapy promises to repair the damage caused by heart attacks and other injuries to the heart.
- It promises to replace that damage (or scar) with brand new healthy and normally functioning heart tissue.
- It promises to improve symptoms, quality of life, and exercise capacity by improving the overall functioning of the damaged heart.
- It promises to reduce the risk of heart attack consequences like heart failure, recurrent hospitalizations, and death.
What a wonderful promise that is!
Stem Cell Therapy Safety
Now a recently completed study, published today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, has raised hopes again for stem cell therapy. Dr. Konstantinos Malliaras, at the Cedars Sinai Medical Center, and others reported the 1-year results of a study they called the CADUCEUS trial. In this this trial, 17 patients with prior heart attacks were treated with a particular type of cells called cardiosphere-derived cells (CDCs). Eighteen similar subjects were followed without CDCs treatment. In the treated patients, the cells were administered using a catheter temporarily placed into an artery to the heart, using techniques identical to coronary angiography. The cell treatment was shown to be safe.
Heart Scar Size Reduced
In addition, heart attack scar size shrunk in the treated patients. This was documented using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, a validated method for measuring heart attack scar size. The absolute reduction in scar size was just over 11%. While clinical endpoints, such as quality of life and exercise capacity, were not improved, this study demonstrates the ability of cell-based therapy to replace damaged heart tissue with viable heart tissue. As the authors state, “While the primary endpoints of the study were safety-related, we observed intriguing hints of efficacy.”
While there is still a lot of work to be done, those hints of efficacy are enough to move the field of stem cell therapy forward. We will now undoubtedly see larger and more pivotal trials done using CDCs and other forms of stem cell therapy. Perhaps that corner is now in reach.
Video: Stem Cell Treatment Heart Disease Cardiac Cell Replacement Therapy for CAD,PAD CHF
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