Stem Cell Treatment of Chronic Heart Failure
There are various conservative methods for treating heart failure, but they can not achieve restoration of damaged heart muscle fibers. To achieve this effect, as shown by recent studies, it is possible to transplant stem cells.
Stem Cells can survive in damaged areas and promote regeneration of the heart muscle.
The first studies showed that transplanted stem cells turns into cells of the heart muscle, thereby restoring its efficiency. After that, method was applied to patients with chronic heart failure. For half of this group, treatment by using stem cells was ancillary – in addition to conventional therapy after revascularization (type of surgical treatment). For the rest, stem cell transplantation was monotherapy.
As a result, stem cell injections significantly improved heart function in patients of both groups. In the early stages of recovery in both groups went the same, but a month after treatment, rehabilitation period was more successful in patients who had not undergone surgery. This trend was typical for the following period. Six months later, patients from the monotherapy group improved by an average of 46%. For the postoperative group, this indicator was 35%. Thus, the first convincing evidence was obtained that stem cell transplantation promotes growth of blood vessels and restoration of the heart muscle and can be used as an effective independent method for treating Heart Failure.
In the future, attention of scientists focused on the type and number / dosage of stem cells needed for effective treatment. During the experiments, it was found that stem cells can be used to regenerate heart tissue and in the treatment of dilated cardiomyopathy, one of the causes of heart failure. After a series of studies, it was found that transplantation of mesenchymal stem cells results in positive results.
Heart Failure Stem Cell Treatment
Mesenchymal stem cells are usually cultivated in the laboratory.
All samples obtained are checked for viruses, bacteria and DNA mutations before they are transplanted into the patient’s body.
Stem Cells is administered intravenously for several days under the supervision of a doctor on a stationary or outpatient basis. Usually treatment takes 1-2 days. Two intravenous injections of stem cells are introduced.
International clinical research results of stem cell therapy of heart failure
A new stem cell therapy of heart failure significantly improved long-term health outcomes in patients with severe and end-stage heart failure in a study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s 65th Annual Scientific Session.
Among 109 patients randomized to receive the stem cell therapy or a placebo, those receiving the stem cell therapy, showed a 37 percent lower rate of the trial’s primary endpoint, a composite of deaths, cardiovascular hospitalizations and clinic visits for sudden worsening of heart failure symptoms, over a 12-month period.
“To date, this is the largest double-blind, placebo-controlled stem cell trial for treatment of heart failure to be presented,” said Investigator.
“Based on these positive results, we are encouraged that this is an attractive potential stem cell therapy for patients with class III and class IV heart failure.”
Heart failure, which affects an estimated 5.1 million people in the United States, is a condition in which the heart progressively weakens and cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Those with severe and end-stage heart failure—known as class III and IV heart failure on a scale developed by the New York Heart Association—often have no treatment options apart from a heart transplant or a left ventricular assist device, a heart pumping machine given to patients as a temporary measure while they await a heart transplant.
The study was a phase 2 clinical trial for a new stem cell therapy.
Using this technique, a doctor extracts astem cells from a patient, processes it for two weeks to “enhance” it by increasing the number of beneficial stem cells, and then injects the processed cultivated stem cells into the patient’s body. The goal of the procedure is to strengthen the heart by increasing the number of functioning heart muscle cells, an approach known broadly as regenerative therapy.
“We have a major unmet need for treating class III and IV heart failure,” Investigator said. “I think this trial provides strong evidence that regenerative therapies are very promising for this group of people, who currently have limited options.”
The trial enrolled 109 patients with class III or IV heart failure resulting from ischemic cardiomyopathy, a type of heart failure that is related to restricted blood flow from a heart attack or coronary artery disease. Roughly half, 58 patients, were randomly assigned to receive stem cell treatment, and 51 patients were assigned to receive a placebo. Patients in the control group underwent a stem cell extraction and received a placebo injection two weeks later.
After 12 months of follow-up, the composite primary endpoint was seen in 38 percent of patients given the stem cell therapy, a significantly lower proportion than the 49 percent of patients experiencing the primary endpoint in the control group.
“This is an exciting result and pushes us to do a larger trial to confirm this reduction in events.”
Secondary endpoints included each of the endpoints within the composite primary endpoint, along with the total number of clinical events and assessments of patients’ heart function and quality of life. The stem cell therapy was associated with beneficial results for most of these secondary outcomes.
Patients given stem cell therapy also had, on average, a longer amount of time until their first adverse event. Other measures of heart function and quality of life, including a walking endurance test and a measurement of the amount of blood pumped out of the left ventricle with each contraction, also suggested improvements in the group receiving stem cells.
The trial builds upon lessons learned from previous smaller-scale stem cell studies, which have mostly shown modest improvements in outcomes for heart failure.