It has been proven through an FDA-approved clinical trial that treating heart attack patients with adult stem cells is safe and seems to repair damaged heart tissue.  The results of this study, which was conducted by Joshua M. Hare, M.D. and director of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and sponsored by Osiris Therapeutics of Columbia, Maryland, were published in the December 8th issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The first phase of the trial intended to prove the safety and efficacy of injecting a formulation of adult mesenchymal stem cells, Prochymal, in patients right after they suffered a heart attack, to diminish the damage to the heart muscle.  The sample consisted of 53 patients who had suffered a heart attack between one to ten days before.  They were randomized to one of three doses of stem cells, each dose compared with placebo.  After six months, researchers analyzed the serious side effects that were related to the treatment and used echocardiography to measure the efficacy.

The study discovered that the patients treated with stem cells presented fewer side effects like cardiac arrhythmias and showed important improvements in their heart, lung, and global functions.  According to Dr. Hare, the echocardiography showed better heart function, especially in patients with lots of cardiac damage.  Up to date, damaged cardiac tissue cannot be repaired through any known scientific method, and close to a million United States’ citizens suffer heart attacks each year.

These results will put to rest some of the discussions in regards to clinical stem cell research for heart disease.  Although many think that it is too soon to test stem cells in patients, this study has proven the value of exact and controlled clinical trials. In doing so, it also establishes the basis for the development of novel cell heart therapies.

Many believe that this trial acts as a key point of reference for the advancement of these types of approaches. There are several advantages to mesenchymal stem cells as cell-based therapy; among these are:

–    Can be taken from donors that are genetically different
–    Are easy to prepare
–    Tend to gather around injured spots

It is certainly exciting to imagine what is ahead.  Each study will provide new information, new teachings, and new possibilities for the use of adult stem cell therapies to treat cardiac patients.

Contact your pharmaceutical consultancy firm for more information on stem cell research and the promising future it presents.

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