Cell therapy using the patient's own stem cells could patch up cardiac damage
The largest trial to date using cell therapy for end-stage ischemic heart failure has released promising results. Involving 126 patients, the trial involved drawing out bone marrow and isolating 2 stem cell types - mesenchymal cells and M2 macrophages. These 2 types of cells have shown encouraging results in other studies; remodeling the heart and combating inflammation.
These cells were then injected gently into damaged areas of the patients' hearts in a procedure lasting less than 2 hours. Throughout the following year, the therapy group appeared to be doing better than the placebo group and data was finally collated after 12 months. Those that had undergone therapy had fewer deaths, fewer hospitalisations and an overall 37% reduction in cardiac events.
"This is the first trial of cell therapy showing that it can have a meaningful impact on the lives of patients with heart failure"
The results aren't staggering, but with further improvement and study we may be able to build on the technique. Considering it was a safe, well tolerated treatment with minimal side effects as well, it could prove to be an excellent additional weapon in the fight against heart failure.
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