Thursday February 20, 2020

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)

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Find out How Diabetes Drug Increases the Risk of Heart Problems

Diabetes drug linked to increased risk of heart problems

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Heart Diabetes
Studies have reported conflicting findings about whether rosiglitazone increases the risk of heart attacks. Pixabay

Researchers have found that rosiglitazone – a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes – is associated with an increased risk of heart problems, especially heart failure.

Rosiglitazone belongs to a class of drugs called thiazolidinediones. It helps control blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes, but it can also increase the risk of serious heart problems, said the study, published in the journal The BMJ.

“Our study suggests that when evaluating drug safety and performing meta-analyses focused on safety, individual patient level data (IPD) might be necessary to accurately classify all adverse events,” said the study researchers

“By including these data in research, patients, clinicians, and researchers would be able to make more informed decisions about the safety of interventions,” they added.

Since 2007, studies have reported conflicting findings about whether rosiglitazone increases the risk of heart attacks.

Heart Diabetes
Rosiglitazone – a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes – is associated with an increased risk of heart problems, especially heart failure. (Representational Image) Pixabay

But these studies didn’t have access to the raw data from clinical trials and mostly relied on summary level data (e.g. results reported in publications and clinical trial registries), which are not as reliable when estimating the true safety profile of drugs.

Recent efforts by Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) – the maker of rosiglitazone – to make IPD available to external investigators, prompted a team of researchers to re-analyse the data and clarify some of the uncertainties about rosiglitazone’s cardiovascular risk.

They analysed the results of more than 130 trials involving over 48,000 adult patients that compared rosiglitazone with any control for at least 24 weeks.

IPD were available for 33 trials, which included 21156 patients; the remaining trials only had summary level data available.

When the researchers analysed the IPD from trials made available by GSK, they found rosiglitazone was associated with a 33 per cent increased risk of a composite cardiovascular event (heart attack, heart failure, cardiovascular and non-cardiovascular related death) compared with controls.

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This was estimated from the 274 events among 11,837 rosiglitazone patients and 219 events among 9,319 control patients.

These findings highlight the potential for different results derived from different data sources, and demonstrate the need for greater clinical trial transparency and data sharing to accurately assess the safety of drugs, the researchers added. (IANS)