Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_89342

Stem cells improve heart treatment

9 July 2004
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 266

Stem cells boost the recovery of damaged hearts, German researchers have found. A report, published in the journal The Lancet, reveals that stem cells taken from the bone marrow increase the efficiency of hearts that have been damaged by heart attacks. The way in which this works still remains unclear, with scientists proposing various explanations and suggesting further studies.

The research team, from Hanover Medical School in Germany, conducted the first randomised trial using stem cells as a heart treatment. The study involved sixty heart attack patients, half of whom were treated with stem cells and half of whom received normal medical treatment. The researchers extracted the stem cells from the bone marrow of the patients and injected them into the artery leading to the damaged area of the heart. As the patients received their own cells as treatment, there were no problems of rejection.

The research team determined improvement to the heart's function by measuring the ejection fraction of the left ventricle, the percentage of blood pumped out of the heart with each contraction. In six months after the trial, the ejection fraction of stem cell treated percentage rose an average of 6.7 per cent from 50 per cent, whilst the ejection fraction of the control group increased by a mere 0.7 per cent. The ejection fraction is normally around 66 per cent, so patients treated with stem cells made a significant step to recovery.

Previous experiments have shown that the beneficial effects observed do not arise from the bone marrow stem cells turning into heart tissue, which is the aim of most stem cell based therapy. Instead, the team suggest that the stem cells may trigger some kind of hormone that stimulates the development of new blood vessels. There have also been results that question the safety of injecting stem cells into the heart: one experiment using stem cells extracted blood was found to cause re-narrowing of the arteries. Another, experimenting on dogs, found that other types of bone marrow cells, which may collected along with bone marrow stem cells, cause restricted blood flow. However, no such side effects were found in the German study.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Adult stem cells transfer improves heart function
Reuters |  8 July 2004
Evidence is emerging that adult stem cells from bone marrow have therapeutic potential for restoring cardiac cells
News.Medical.Net |  8 July 2004
Stem cells repair heart attack damage
Health Central |  8 July 2004
Stem cells 'treat heart attacks'
BBC News Online |  8 July 2004
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
25 September 2006 - by Dr Jess Buxton 
Three new studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) reveal contradictory results following the use of bone marrow-derived stem cells to treat heart attack patients. Two of reports found that injections of a patient's own bone marrow cells can improve heart function after...
2 May 2006 - by BioNews 
A team of US scientists has managed to successfully treat mice with symptoms of a genetic kidney disease, using bone marrow stem cells. The researchers, based at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, transplanted stem cells into animals affected by Alport syndrome, and saw a significant improvement in their condition...
3 March 2006 - by BioNews 
One form of stem cell therapy for heart attack patients appears to have little effect, German researchers report. The team, based at the German Heart Centre in Munich, carried out the largest trial designed to test the therapy to date. The results, published in the Journal of the American Medical...
13 October 2005 - by BioNews 
Doctors based at Barts and the London NHS Trust have launched a trial to test if heart damage can be effectively treated using stem cells taken from a patient's own bone marrow. The study will involve 700 patients, and will look at three different types of heart damage. The trial...
19 September 2005 - by BioNews 
French scientists have used mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells to repair damaged heart muscle in sheep. The team, based at the National Center for Scientific Research in Montpellier, successfully transplanted ES cells into nine animals. One month after the procedure, the treated sheep had healthier heart tissue than sheep that...
10 May 2004 - by BioNews 
A new US study calls into question the existence of adult stem cells capable of transforming into insulin-producing pancreatic cells. Previous research in mice has suggested that such cells could be used to develop new treatments for diabetes. But the new study, carried out by scientists at Harvard University in...
29 April 2004 - by BioNews 
Patients with heart failure could one day be treated with injections of their own stem cells, according to new US trials that provide the 'first convincing evidence' that such an approach might work. Previous studies have produced conflicting results, and some researchers have questioned whether stem cell therapies for failing...
HAVE YOUR SAY
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.