The treatment of stem cells has reduced the number of deaths caused by cardiovascular problems, but not hospitalization.

Stem cell therapy helped to reduce the number of heart attacks, strokes and death among people with chronic, high-risk NYHA class II or III heart failure that has reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) particularly those with higher levels of inflammation, but hospitalization did not decrease in accordance with research that was recently published and presented today at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2021. The meeting is completely virtual, from Saturday 13 November to Monday November 15, 2021 and is a world-class exchange of the most recent technological advancements, research and clinical practice updates based on evidence-based cardiovascular science for health care professionals around the world.

Heart failure is where the heart is not able to adequately pump blood to meet the body’s demands for oxygen and nutrients. Heart failure with reduced ejection factor (HFrEF) is a condition that causes the heart muscle becomes weaker and enlarges. This results in an increase in the capacity of pumping and the accumulation of fluids in the tissues. Heart failure can worsen over time due to inflammation.

The study looked at the effects of injecting stem cells (mesenchymal pre-cells) into the heart to treat chronic heart failure and target inflammation. Researchers speculated that the single injection of stem cells from healthy adult donors in addition to guideline-directed medical therapy (GDMT) for heart failure would affect the frequency at which patients were admitted to hospitals for heart failure related events and reduce heart attacks, strokes, or even death.

Cell therapy may change the treatment of heart disease. Our findings suggest that stem cell therapy can be used in addition to the standard treatments for heart failure.

Emerson C. Perin M.D. and Ph.D. is the study’s lead author and director of the Center for Clinical Research. He is also the medical director at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston.

The largest stem cell therapy trial involving heart failure patients is the “Randomized trial for Targeted Transendocardial Delivery of Mesenchymal Precursor cells in High-Risk Chronic Heart Failure Patients with Reduced Ejection Fraction”, also known as the DREAMHF study. Researchers recruited 537 participants for this multi-center, randomized, double-blind and sham-controlled study. All of them were patients suffering from heart failure.

Heart failure was diagnosed using the New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional classification system. Based on the extent of their physical activity limitations This classification system places patients into one of four categories. Class I heart failure means no physical activity limitation and class IV heart failure meaning that there is no way to perform any physical activity without discomfort.

Participants were randomly divided into two groups: 261 adults received an injection of 150 million mesenchymal precursor cells commonly known as stem cells, directly into the heart using the catheter. The scripted procedure, or sham, was utilized for the remaining 276 adults. Healthy adult donors supplied mesenchymal precursors cells.

The participants of the study were released from the hospital the day after the procedure, and researchers followed them for an average of 30 months. The study’s focus was to determine if the stem treatment of cells affected the probability of participants returning to the hospital for treatment of worsening heart failure. They also determined if participants suffered a heart attack or stroke, or died, and measured levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive Protein (CRP), a measure in the blood indicating inflammation.

Researchers did not notice any decrease in hospitalizations as a result of stem cell treatment. However, they did observe some other important results. These are the results:

  • Stem cell therapy was proven to reduce stroke and non-fatal heart attacks by 65% in participants who were enrolled in the study.
  • After stem cell therapy patients with high levels in inflammation (CRP levels of at least 2 mg/L) were 79% less likely than those with non-fatal strokes or heart attacks.
  • Stem cell treatment reduced heart death by 80% in people with high levels of inflammation, and less severe, class II HF.

Perin says, “We were amazed to discover that stem cells’ treatment effects were additive to the standard heart failure treatments.” “For the first-time that the anti-inflammatory mechanism of these cells’ actions may be linked to a cause-and-effect benefit in the case of heart failure. The stem cells performed locally in the heart, and also helped in blood vessels throughout the body.”

Perin and his colleagues believe that more research is required to better understand how stem cells affect the progression of heart disease and how therapies can be targeted to patients who can benefit the most.

The study was limited due to the use of endpoints typically employed in heart failure research. The results of the study suggest that the traditional endpoints for patients with chronic heart disease hospitalization might not be enough to fully explain the effects of stem cells on heart attack and death in patients with chronic heart disease.

Content Source:

Gemma Wilson

Gemma is a journalism graduate with keen interest in covering business news – specifically startups. She has as a keen eye for technologies and has predicted quite a few successful startups over the last couple of years.

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