Washington: Stem cell therapy improves heart function in patients who had previous heart attacks, according to researchers from the University of Louisville and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.In a Late-Breaking Clinical Trial session at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2012 meeting, Roberto Bolli, M.D., of the University of Louisville and Piero Anversa, M.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, presented data from their groundbreaking research in the use of autologous adult stem cells with patients who had previous heart attacks.They report that after two years, all patients receiving the stem cell therapy show improvement in heart function, with an overall 12.9 absolute unit increase in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), a standard measure of heart function that shows the amount of blood ejected from the left ventricle during a heartbeat.No adverse effects resulting from the therapy were seen. Moreover, MRIs performed on nine patients in the trial showed evidence of myocardial regeneration – new heart tissue replacing former dead tissue killed by heart attack. “The trial shows the feasibility of isolating and expanding autologous stem cells from virtually every patient,” said Bolli, who is the Jewish Hospital Heart and Lung Institute Distinguished Chair in Cardiology and director of the Institute for Molecular Cardiology in the Department of Medicine at UofL.“The results suggest that this therapy has a potent, beneficial effect on cardiac function that warrants further study,” he stated.The trial – called SCIPIO for Stem Cell Infusion in Patients with Ischemic CardiOmyopathy – was a randomized open-label trial of cardiac stem cells (CSCs) in patients who were diagnosed with heart failure following a myocardial infarction and had a LVEF of 40 percent or lower; the normal LVEF is 50 percent or higher.
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