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Texas Heart(R) Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital Initiates First Clinical Trial in the World to Treat a Heart Attack Patient with a Special Stem Cell Type
Date:4/14/2008

HOUSTON, April 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Physician scientists at the Texas Heart Institute (THI) at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital announced they have begun the world's first clinical trial to treat heart attack patients with a special type of stem cell to promote better healing and to prevent congestive heart failure, which many patients develop following a heart attack.

Almost six million Americans have congestive heart failure, a progressive form of cardiovascular disease that inhibits the heart from pumping blood throughout the body, and 550,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. About half of these patients die within five years after receiving a diagnosis of severe heart failure.

Stem cell transplantation offers new hope for treating heart failure. Stem cells are "generic" cells that can regenerate themselves and develop into specialized cells, such as cardiac cells. In stem cell therapy, stem cells are typically removed from another part of the patient's body -- usually the bone marrow or the blood, both of which contain a variety of stem cell types. The cells are then transplanted into the heart, where they can lead to the growth of new heart muscle and blood vessels to replace damaged tissues.

The special stem cells used in this study, known as mesenchymal precursor stem cells, are allogenic, meaning that they have been taken from the bone marrow of a healthy donor and grown in cultures to provide a plentiful supply. These cells, which are injected directly into the heart with a special catheter, appear not to provoke rejection by the recipient or cause inflammation.

The first patient to receive the treatment is a 65-year-old man. The man's heart attack was treated with angioplasty to open the obstructed vessel, and he received a stent, a spring-like device, to keep the vessel open. He had the stem cell procedure in the catheterization laboratory ten days after having his heart attack, and he was discharged from
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SOURCE Texas Heart Institute
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