'Bionanotechnology from Theory to Practice' is a short online, course providing an interdisciplinary and up-to-date overview of the rapidly developing area of bionanotechnology
Page URL: https://www.bionews.org.uk/page_93074

Stem cell therapy may help angina patients

18 July 2011
Appeared in BioNews 616

Researchers at Northwestern University, Chicago, USA, have reported that the injection of stem cells into heart tissue can significantly improve the symptoms of people with severe angina. They found that exercise tolerance was increased and the number of pain episodes was halved compared to those not given the injections.

The new multi-centre study, published in the journal Circulation Research, investigated the safety and clinical benefit of using a patient's own CD34+ stem cells as a treatment. CD34+ stem cells circulate in the blood and have previously been shown to be able to create new blood vessels and improve function in diseased heart tissue.

Angina affects around 250,000 people in the UK and can make even very light exercise difficult. The chest pains, usually associated with heart disease, occur when there is not enough oxygen in the blood. Normal therapeutic measures include lifestyle changes, medication and surgery, but for some patients these treatments fail, leaving limited options.

Researchers took 167 patients with 'refraction' angina, which is unresponsive to treatment, and separated them into three groups. All patients were given a growth stimulation drug to increase the numbers of circulating stem cells, before these cells were extracted and purified. Each group then received either a low dose stem cell infusion, a high dose or a placebo injection.

After six months, patients in the low dose group showed a significantly reduced number of painful angina episodes during an average week - around six, compared to 11 in those given the placebo. The amount of exercise tolerated in patients also significantly increased in the low-dose group, at 139 seconds compared to 69 seconds in the control group. A similar improvement was seen in the high-dose group, but the team found no real advantage in receiving the high dose over the low dose.

Dr Douglas Losordo, the lead author of the study, said: 'While we need to validate these results in phase 3 studies before definitive conclusions can be drawn, we believe this is an important milestone in considering whether the body's own stem cells may one day be used to treat chronic cardiovascular conditions'.

He continued: 'One exciting potential of this procedure is that it will offer these folks an opportunity to get part of their lives back', adding that it could make the difference between being able to walk slowly and being able to ride a bike.

However, owing to the lack of research into the long term benefits of the treatment, and poorly understood underlying mechanisms, Professor Jeremy Pearson from the British Heart Foundation remained cautious: 'Until these uncertainties are resolved, it remains unclear how successful this treatment will prove to be'.

Heart patients get stem cells boost: Angina attacks 'cut by half'
Daily Mail |  11 July 2011
Intramyocardial, Autologous CD34+ Cell Therapy for Refractory Angina
Circulation Research |  7 July 2011
Stem cell hope for heart patients
BBC News |  8 July 2011
Stem cells show promise for patients with severe angina
Los Angeles Times |  8 July 2011
Stem cell therapy for angina patients
The Telegraph |  8 July 2011
5 March 2012 - by Cathy Holding 
A major clinical trial to investigate a stem cell treatment for chronic ischemic heart disease (IHD) – a leading cause of death around the world – has begun in the US...
21 November 2011 - by Victoria Kay 
The world's first clinical trial using patients' own cardiac stem cells to repair heart damage has produced surprising results. The preliminary trial was designed simply to test the safety of the procedure, but doctors observed an unexpected improvement in heart function in patients receiving the treatment...
12 September 2011 - by Dr Nadeem Shaikh 
A single gene may play a major role in how we perceive pain, UK scientists have discovered. Research published in the journal Science, by a team from the University of Cambridge, shows that the HCN2 gene may be a vital target for future pharmacological research into pain relief...
26 January 2009 - by Dr Nadeem Shaikh 
A new multinational study, published in Nature Genetics has identified a gene mutation which may dramatically increase the risk of developing certain types of heart disease for 60 million South Asians. The study - led by Kumarasamy Thangaraj of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology in Hyderabad...
10 September 2001 - by BioNews 
Angina pain can be controlled using gene therapy, scientists have found. Patients with severe heart disease who were not eligible for heart bypass operations, and who took up to 40 tablets per day for their angina, were given gene therapy straight into the heart muscles. At the end of the...
4 September 2000 - by BioNews 
Researchers at Tufts University, Boston, have used gene therapy to treat patients with serious heart conditions. The trial involved 13 people affected by continuous, severe chest pains, caused by 'dead' areas of heart muscle. The scientists used gene injections to successfully restore blood flow to the affected muscle in nine...
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.