The team said the stem cell treatment was well-tolerated with no serious side effects. Hare estimated that the procedure and the cells would cost approximately $10,000 to $15, 000, "not including a hospital fee if one was needed."
According to Hare, the findings may advance the field of stem cell therapy generally. "In fact, we see this as eventually having a broad application, even for patients with non-cardiac conditions," he said. "And certainly for heart patients, this approach appears to be a safe way to get better clinical results and improve on our limited treatment options."
One outside expert agreed that there are currently few effective treatments for patients with enlarged hearts.
"We don't have very much that works right now," said Dr. Murray A. Mittleman, director of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit with the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School in Boston. "So if this sort of novel treatment improves outcomes that would certainly be helpful. Especially if it helps patients avoid getting to the stage where they would need a heart transplant."
For more on enlarged hearts and heart disease, visit the American Heart Association.
SOURCES: Joshua M. Hare, M.D., professor, medicine, and director, Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami; Murray A. Mittleman, M.D. DrPH, director, Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Unit, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston; March 17, 2011, Circulation Research.
All rights reserved