Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_89962

Stem cell heart attack therapy ineffective

3 March 2006
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 348

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 Association, show that boosting bone marrow-derived stem cells in people who have had a heart attack does not improve their recovery. However, an accompanying editorial called for larger well-controlled studies to investigate the effect of other stem cell treatments. 'I, for one, am not ready to give up on this technology', said author Robert Kloner, director of the Heart Institute at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles.

Heart attacks damage the heart muscle and associated blood vessels, which stop it working effectively. Previous research suggested that injections of stem cells derived from bone marrow can trigger the growth of new heart muscle, although scientists do not clearly understand how this happens. Last year, a German trial involving 60 patients showed that stem cells taken from the bone marrow increase the efficiency of hearts that have been damaged by heart attacks.

In the latest study, the scientists tested the effect of injecting patients with a substance called granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), which promotes stem cell production in bone marrow. The trial included 114 patients - 56 of whom received regular G-CSF injections for five days after they had experienced a heart attack, while 58 received a placebo. But although the number of stem cells in the blood of those given G-CSF injections increased, check-ups carried out at four and six months after the treatment revealed no difference in the heart function of the two groups.

However, study leader Dietlind Zohlnhofer said that in contrast to other some studies, the trial showed no increased risk of potentially harmful side effects. The scientists think that the treatment might have failed to work because the stem cells didn't home in on the damaged heart tissue. In his accompanying editorial, Robert Kloner said that while some investigators may be 'disappointed' with the trial, it highlighted the importance of large, controlled, carefully designed studies. He said this was the only way 'to differentiate between the hype often generated by smaller, less well-controlled trials and reality'.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
Stem cell boost fails to help heart patients
New Scientist |  28 February 2006
Stem Cells Fall Way Short for Repair of Heart Attack Damage
Medpage Today |  28 February 2006
Stem Cell Treatment for Heart Attack Ineffective
Forbes.com |  28 February 2006
RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE
13 June 2011 - by Dr Sophie Pryor 
A naturally occurring protein can activate stem cells in mouse hearts, producing new muscle cells to replace the tissue damaged by a heart attack, UK scientists have found...
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...
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...
26 July 2005 - by BioNews 
Doctors think they are close to treating heart attack victims with stem cells, after promising results in trials using pigs. A Phase I clinical trial on 48 patients is set to begin soon in the US to test the safety of the procedure in humans. The procedure involves injecting people...
11 February 2005 - by BioNews 
US researchers have discovered that the heart contains a type of stem cell that can divide and produce new heart cells after birth, which might allow the organ to repair itself. The surprise finding could lead to new therapies for damage caused by heart attacks. The researchers, based at the...
4 February 2005 - by BioNews 
A new type of stem cell isolated from human bone marrow could have all the medical potential of embryonic stem (ES) cells, US researchers say. However, not all scientists are convinced of that the cells are as versatile as they appear to be, according to a report in the Washington...
9 July 2004 - by BioNews 
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...
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.