Adult Stem Cell Research Network recently announced three ways to treat heart problems with adult stem cells.
Adipose Derived Stem Cells
Dr. Keith March of the Indiana University Medical Center, Indiana Center for Vascular Biology and Medicine, Professor Patrick Serruys of the ThoraxCentre, Rotterdam, Netherlands, and Francisco Fernandez-Avils of Madrid, Spain all presented data related to the use of stem cells derived from a patients own adipose (fat) tissue. Pre-clinical studies have demonstrated improved blood flow and a reduction of scar size when adipose derived stem cells are provided within a short time period following the heart attack by coronary infusion. Dr. March presented data that two cell types, adipose stem cells and endothelial progenitor cells, work in partnership to provide much more blood flow than either cell type can alone. Clinical studies of cells from adipose tissue have begun at a number of centers worldwide. We are very interested to see that cells from adipose tissue are being tested in these early trials, said Dr. March, noting that the use of one’s own cells from fat tissue is potentially a very practical approach. Various studies are being sponsored separately by Cytori Therapeutics, Inc., Tissue Genesis, Inc. and Bioheart, Inc.
Bone Marrow Derived Stem Cells
Dr. Andreas M. Zeiher, MD, of the University of Frankfurt (Frankfurt, Germany), and a number of other researchers provided both pre-clinical and clinical data from the use of bone marrow derived cells. These cells seem to function primarily by promoting growth of new blood vessels, which can help preserve tissue following a heart attack. Data from clinical studies of hundreds of patients has demonstrated a noticeable improvement in heart function, especially in patients whose hearts start with low pumping ability. More clinical studies are in progress. Sponsors of bone marrow cell studies include Osiris Therapeutics and Boston Scientific Guidant.
Modified Adult Stem Cells
Dr. Marc Penn from Cleveland Clinic presented pre-clinical data demonstrating that adult muscle stem cells (myoblasts) modified to overexpress SDF-1 (stromalderived factor-1) are able to achieve significant improvements in the pumping ability of the heart. Myoblasts alone in his study provided a 27 percent improvement of the pumping ability of the damaged animal hearts he treated, while SDF-1 modified myoblasts provided a 54 percent improvement. Dr. Penn is very optimistic about the future of such heart therapies. Clearly this is a multi-year process, he says. We are only in Phase I, but the excitement over this treatment is a direct result of past successes. [Through stem cell research, we’re getting to where we can not only help victims live after an attack, but can improve heart functioning and help them live more meaningful lives. We desperately need this research. Many years of lab and animal research have now led to an application with the FDA for human clinical studies of this modified stem cell composition derived from a patient’s own thigh muscle. Bioheart, Inc. is sponsoring the pre-clinical development of this composition for treating advanced heart failure.