Navigation Links
Stem Cells May Offer New Way to Treat Blocked Arteries

Injections into heart restore blood flow in small study

TUESDAY, May 19 (HealthDay News) -- Injecting bone marrow cells into the heart's muscular wall restored blood flow to hearts with blocked arteries for which conventional treatments had proven ineffective, Dutch physicians have reported.

"I think this is very good news for patients who are at the end of the line and have no options left," said Dr. Douwe E. Atsma, an interventional cardiologist at Leiden University Medical Center and an author of the study, which appears in the May 20 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The 50 people in the study, 43 of them men, were experiencing angina, or severe chest pain, because of blockages in their heart arteries. All had undergone several artery-opening procedures, such as angioplasty or bypass surgery, to restore blood flow, but such measures would no longer help them, Atsma said.

Half of the participants received injections of cells taken from their own bone marrow, and the others received inactive cell injections. After three months, the responses were varied, with some participants reporting complete relief and others with partial benefits.

"The most important thing is that the amount of ischemia [artery blockage] was halved" in those given the marrow cells, Atsma said. "The amount of tissue with ischemia was reduced, heart function improved significantly in a small way and their grades of quality of life were higher."

Two earlier and smaller trials of bone marrow cell therapy for heart disease had produced conflicting results, Atsma said. "We are the largest trial to date and the first to demonstrate a decrease in ischemia," he said.

The results were so good, Atsma said, that the participants who had gotten the dummy injections have since been given bone marrow cell therapy, and "we now consider it an option for patients in the same condition," he said.

The study excluded people with heart failure, which occurs when the heart muscle has become too weak to pump blood properly. But Atsma said that a trial of bone marrow cell therapy for people who have blocked arteries as well as heart failure is planned.

The bone marrow cell injections help restore blood flow by promoting the creation of new blood vessels, Atsma said, but it's not clear how this happens. "It could be that the cells that are injected become part of the vasculature, the blood vessels," he said. "Even better, the injected cells may secrete proteins that stimulate angiogenesis, formation of blood vessels. Or it might be a combination of those two things."

Whatever the reason for the benefit of bone marrow cell therapy, "we are fairly enthusiastic, considering that these patients had no alternative," Atsma said. "They had all the surgery and angioplasty they could have."

Dr. Amit Patel, director of cardiovascular regenerative medicine at the University of Utah, described the finding as "definitely a step forward in the treatment of chronic angina." But he had some cautionary comments.

It was a small study, with just 50 participants, he said, adding that "to make it a more reproducible therapy, you would have to do at least a couple of hundred patients."

Also, the follow-up period was relatively short, at three months, he noted. "Something positive happened, but you would have to follow these patients further to see how long it would last," Patel said. Future studies to determine whether there would be an overall improvement in heart function would also be welcome, he said.

Doris Taylor, director of the University of Minnesota Center for Cardiovascular Repair, also had qualified praise for the results.

"The good news is that it is more mechanistic in that it gives some insights into perfusion," she said. "It reinforces the evidence that bone marrow cells are safe and effective. It also reinforces the prevailing wisdom that it is not a home run. The results are positive, but it is not the panacea we hoped it would be."

To further the baseball analogy, Taylor said that "for the people who feel better, I would consider it a double."

More studies are needed to learn about the value of cell therapy "across the complete spectrum of cardiovascular disease," she said. "We need to understand what we need to do differently. I hope these data provoke that conversation."

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has more on angina.

SOURCES: Douwe E. Atsma, M.D., Ph.D., interventional cardiologist, Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands; Amit Patel, M.D., director, cardiovascular regenerative medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City; Doris Taylor, Ph.D., director, Center for Cardiovascular Repair, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; May 20, 2009, Journal of the American Medical Association

Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Women with previous abnormal cervical cells at higher risk for recurrence and invasive cancer
2. Boost Natural Killer Cells to Prevent Swine Flu
3. Menstrual Blood Stem Cells May Significantly Increase Yield of Cord Blood Stem Cells
4. Weizmann Institute scientists show white blood cells move like millipedes
5. Where tumor cells boldly go: Weill Cornell cancer biologists shed light on the metastatic niche
6. Natural Killer Cells May Help Protect Against New Strains of Influenza Virus
7. Upside-down world: DNA protecting protein helps cancer drug to kill cells
8. Fat-Derived Stem Cells Might Treat MS
9. First Vessel Graft Grown From Kidney Patients Own Cells
10. Scientists Find New Way to Create Stem Cells
11. How cells change gears: New insights published in Nature Genetics
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Stem Cells May Offer New Way to Treat Blocked Arteries
(Date:6/27/2016)... , ... June 27, 2016 , ... recently awarded ... Eyeglasses . , Millions of individuals in the United States and Canada wear ... a way to both correct vision and make a fashion statement. Even celebrities use ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 26, 2016 , ... PawPaws ... a new product that was developed to enhance the health of felines. The formula ... , The two main herbs in the PawPaws Cat Kidney Support Supplement ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can ... Surgery and to Dr. Russell Peckham for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey ... cancer. The selective fellowship in Mohs Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... As a lifelong Southern Californian, Dr. Omkar ... M.D from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He trained in Internal ... complete his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the UCLA-Olive View-Cedars Sinai program where he had ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... plastic surgery procedures that most people are unfamiliar with. The article goes on to ... known procedures, but also many of these less common operations such as calf and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... , June 27, 2016  VMS Rehab Systems, ... Board will take whatever measures required to build a ... stock which is currently listed on the OTC Markets-pink ... Company Chairman and CEO, "We are seeing an anomaly ... to understand, not only by the Company, but shareholders ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. , June 24, 2016 ... GBT ), a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics ... significant unmet needs, today announced the closing of ... shares of common stock, at the public offering ... shares in the offering were offered by GBT. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016 The Academy ... of recommendations that would allow biopharmaceutical companies ... with entities that make formulary and coverage decisions, a ... "value" of new medicines. The recommendations address ... not appear on the drug label, a prohibition that ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: