Saturday, November 22, 2008

Stem Cell Technique for Heart Failure

In an investigational study of new heart failure treatments being conducted at The Methodist Hospital in Houston, a promising new technique had scientists injecting highly-concentrated stem cells directly into a patient’s heart. It is hoped that this will repair the damaged heart tissue.

This new technology may be more effective in regenerating healthy heart tissue than other methods that use a catheter to put standard stem cells through the bloodstream into the heart.

Currently, the 58-year-old veteran and businessman is resting comfortably and is expected to be discharged this weekend. “Some patients have such severe heart failure that their only current option is a heart transplant,” said Dr. Brian Bruckner, cardiac surgeon at the Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center in Houston. “We hope that stem cells will stimulate angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels, restore mechanical function in diseased heart tissue, and return patients to a much better quality of life without a transplant.”

In a novel process, the patient’s strongest and most robust stem and progenitor cells, derived from the patient’s own bone marrow, are amplified up to 1,000 times before they’re injected back into the patient’s heart. In the procedure, Dr. Bruckner made a small incision in the left side of the patient’s chest and administered approximately 25 injections of concentrated stem cells into the patient’s heart. All patients in the trial will be followed for 12 months after the injections.

There are currently 5.5 million people in the U.S. suffering from chronic heart failure.


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