A therapy that reduces heart attacks and mortality in that regard surfaced

Emobileclinic Researchers’ corner

Emobileclinic Reporter: Femi Fayomi

The future is bright for people suffering from heart related problems as findings in a new study on stem cell therapy published in The Lancet Journal and presented simultaneously at the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) in Chicago shows decrease in heart attacks and death among the affected people.

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The clinical trial found that end-stage heart failure patients treated with stem cells harvested from their own bone marrow had 37 percent fewer cardiac events than those who received a “dummy” placebo. According to Dr Amit Patel, director of Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City, “for the last 15 years, everyone has been talking about cell therapy and what it can do. These results suggest that it really works”.

It must be noted that, a weakened or damaged heart no longer pumps blood the way it should and this is an indication for heart failure which affects about 5.7 million Americans, according to the American Heart Association.The study involved 126 heart failure patients. Sixty received the stem cell treatment, while the other 66 got a placebo. After one year, 4 percent of the stem cell therapy patients had died and about 52 percent had been hospitalized for heart failure. That was an improvement on the group receiving the placebo, where 8 percent of patients died and more than 82 percent ended up in the hospital, Patel’s team said.

He further stated that “this is the first trial of cell therapy showing that it can have a meaningful impact on the lives of patients with heart failure”. The researchers predicted that if further studies are successful, stem cell therapy may one day offer an alternative to current treatments for end-stage heart failure, such as heart transplantation and left ventricular assist device therapy.

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In a related study earlier reported online in the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr Eric Velasquez in a 10-year study found that bypass surgery plus medication appears to work better for heart failure patients, compared to the use of medications alone. The study involved more than 1,200 patients with severe heart disease and heart failure who were tracked for about a decade. The findings showed that all of the patients got standard heart drugs, but those who also underwent coronary bypass lived a median of 16 months longer and suffered fewer heart attacks, strokes and hospitalizations.

He stressed further that “this now demonstrates that the advantages of [bypass] are robust and durable and the procedure saves and extends lives.”


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SOURCES: David Friedman, M.D., chief, Heart Failure Services, Northwell Health Long Island Jewish Valley Stream Hospital, Valley Stream, N.Y.; University of Utah, news release, April 4, 2016; Duke University, news release, April 3, 2016

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