Stem Cells Help Re-grow Healthy Heart Muscle After Heart Attack
February 14, 2012
A new study published in the journal The Lancet shares the results from a Cedars-Sinai Heart institute clinical trial, which demonstrated that heart attack patients could be treated with an infusion of their own heart-derived cells that helped re-grow healthy heart muscles.
The patients who underwent the stem cell procedure showed a significant reduction in size of the scar left on the heart muscle by a heart attack. These patients also experienced a sizable increase in the health of their heart muscle following the experimental stem cell treatments.
A year after receiving the stem cell treatment, scar sizes were reduced from 12 to 24 percent in heart attack patients. The effects are substantial, and were never accomplished before, even despite a decade of cell therapy trials, and even more pronounced in humans than in animal tests.
This is one of the first regenerative therapies that could potentially reverse the damage caused by a heart attack. This clinical trial was named CADUCEUS (CArdiosphere-Derived aUtologous stem CElls to Reverse ventricUlar dySfunction), and it was part of an investigative study approved by the FDA and supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
In 2009, Eduardo Marbán, director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, and his team completed the first procedure in which a patient’s own heart tissue was used to grow specialized heart stem cells, which were injected back into the patient’s heart in an effort to repair the heart muscle that had been injured by a heart attack.
25 patients, of a median age of 53, participated in this study. They all had damaged heart muscles and each underwent imaging scans. Eight patients served as a control group in the study, receiving conventional medical care for heart attacks. In the other 17 patients, a heart biopsy was performed. The biopsied heart tissue was then cultured, which multiplied the cells. Finally, the cells were reintroduced into the patient’s coronary arteries.
Patients who received the stem cell treatment experienced an average of 50 percent reduction in their heart attack scars 12 months after the infusion of stem cells, while other patients received no shrinkage.