Tuesday June 18, 2019

Stem Cell Therapy to Treat Heart-Failure

For the study, the team induced experimental heart attacks in macaque monkeys

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heart-rate, inflammation
Higher levels of inflammation may in turn increase risk for heart diseases (IANS)

Stem cells may potentially be used as a “one-and-done” approach to restore function in people with heart-failure, a study has found.

Reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology, the study showed human stem cell treatment can possibly return the hearts’ functioning to better than 90 per cent of normal in macaque monkeys with heart attacks.

Heart-failure that causes nearly 10 million deaths worldwide, is a condition caused by lack of blood flow. The stem cells will help “form new muscle that will integrate into heart so it may pump vigorously again,” said Charles “Chuck” Murry, Professor at the University of Washington.

“Our findings show that human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes can re-muscularise infarcts in macaque monkey hearts and, in doing so, reduce scar size and restore a significant amount of heart function. This should give hope to people with heart disease,” Murry said.

For the study, the team induced experimental heart attacks in macaque monkeys.

Two weeks later, the researchers took heart cells that they had grown from embryonic human embryonic stem cells and injected them into and around the young scar tissue. Each animal received roughly 750 million of these human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes.

heart beat rate
Representational image. Pixabay

At four weeks after treatment, the ejection fraction in the treated animals rose to 49.7 per cent, about half-way back to normal, as compared to the untreated control animals, which remained unchanged at about 40 per cent.

MRI scans showed that new heart muscle had grown within what had been scar tissue in the treated hearts, while no new muscle was seen in the untreated animals.

Moreover, the human heart cells had also formed new muscle tissue in the damaged region. The new muscle tissue had replaced 10 per cent to 29 per cent of the scar tissue, integrated with the surrounding healthy tissue and developed into mature heart cells, the researchers said.

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Murry said that the research aims to develop a treatment that could be given to people shortly after a heart attack to prevent heart failure.

Because heart cells are long-lived there should be no need for additional treatments, he said. The transplanted stem cells would also be genetically altered to reduce the risk of immune rejection, which often complicates organ transplantation.

“What we hope to do is create a “one-and-done” treatment with frozen “off-the-shelf” cells that, like O-negative blood, can go into any recipient with only moderate immune suppression,” Murry said. (IANS)

Next Story

FDA Approves Device to Treat Heart Failure Patients

The health body has granted approval of the Optimizer Smart system to US-based Impulse Dynamics

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The US Food and Drug Administration has given approval for a new device that would help treat patients with life-threatening heart failure, and address an unmet need in patients who fail to get adequate benefits from standard treatments and have no alternative treatment options.

The Optimizer Smart system is comprised of several components, including an implantable pulse generator, battery charger, programmer and software. The pulse generator is implanted under the skin in the upper left or right area of the chest and connected to three leads that are implanted in the heart.

After the device is implanted, a physician tests and programmes the device, which delivers electrical impulses to the heart during regular heartbeats to help improve the heart’s squeezing capability.

The device would be beneficial for patients not suited to treatment with other heart failure devices such as cardiac resynchronisation therapy to restore a normal timing pattern of the heartbeat, the US FDA noted in a statement.

“Patients with moderate-to-severe chronic heart failure have limited treatment options. And for those who are unable to be treated due to underlying conditions or who have not responded to available treatments, their quality of life may be impacted, with limits on the types of physical activities they can do,” said Bram Zuckerman, Director at FDA’s Centre for Devices and Radiological Health.

Photo Credit: www.medscape.com

“The FDA recognised the unmet need for these patients and worked with the manufacturer…to efficiently bring this product to market, while ensuring it meets our regulatory requirements for safety and effectiveness,” Zuckerman added.

For the study, the US FDA evaluated data from two clinical trials with a total of 389 patients with moderate-to-severe heart failure.

All patients received optimal medical therapy and 191 patients also received an Optimizer Smart system implant.

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The Optimizer Smart system improves quality of life and functional status of certain heart failure patients.

The health body has granted approval of the Optimizer Smart system to US-based Impulse Dynamics. (IANS)