Stem Cell Hearts

Monday, March 21, 2011 - 9:12am

Doctors treat heart failure patients using their own stem cells.

Doctors at the University of Miami are working on ways to treat heart failure patients using their own stem cells. The results, so far, are promising.

Robert Boyce is enjoying fishing again after three heart attacks forced him to give it up. Then he joined a study at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and in May 2009 had his own stem cells injected into his damaged heart.

Robert Boyce says "since the procedure, physically I feel better. I breathe a lot better. I do have a little more stamina than I had."

He is one of 8 heart failure patients in a UM trial published in Circulation Research: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Among the findings: all 8 patients had a positive response, heart size decreased 15 to 20%, scar tissue decreased 18%.

Dramatic improvement in heart function.

Joshua Hare, MD, UM Stem Cell Research, says "what we really showed definitively is that an area of heart tissue that was previously dead and not contracting started to contract again after the cell injection."

The stem cells are derived from the patient's bone marrow, processed in a lab. Then using catheters 10 injections are given in the heart in one procedure.

Dr. Hare has now started phase 2 of the study with 60 patients. Frank quereau is one of them, and he is happy to have this option.

Frank Quereau, Stem Cell Study Participant, says "I was at the end stages where I had one other choice, heart transplant."

UM is looking for more participants who have ischemic myopathy.

Dr. Hare says "that condition results from having a heart attack that damages enough of the heart so that the entire heart loses its shape and blows up like a balloon."

With the positive results form the first phase with Mr. Boyce and the 7 other patients, a new stem cell study will begin in July for patients with heart failure unrelated to heart attack.

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