13 April 2010

How can you heal a broken heart?

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An innovative treatment using stem cells undergoes testing at the research center of the CHUM, in collaboration with the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital in Québec
Some patients with heart muscles seriously affected by coronary heart disease may soon be able to benefit from an innovative treatment. Researchers at the Research Centre of the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CRCHUM), in collaboration with the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital (MRH) are evaluating the safety, feasibility and efficacy of injecting stem cells into the hearts of patients while they are undergoing coronary bypass surgery. These stem cells could improve healing of the heart and its function.

The IMPACT-CABG (implantation of autologous CD133+ stem cells in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting) protocol evaluates this experimental procedure, which is destined for patients suffering from ischemic heart disease, in which the blood supply to the heart is decreased and associated with heart failure. These patients undergo open-heart coronary bypass surgery, performed by the medical team to improve perfusion of the heart muscle. A few weeks ago, the first patient received progenitor CD133+ stem cells isolated from his bone marrow and enriched at the Cell Therapy Laboratory of the MRH, and has been doing very well ever since. Already, improvement has been noted in the contraction capacity of his heart, which has improved its ability to pump blood.

The IMPACT-CABG study targets a group of patients who suffer heart muscle failure due to coronary heart disease. The goal is to add another treatment option to coronary bypass to promote healing and regeneration of the damaged heart muscle. This new procedure is less invasive and less expensive than heart transplant, the only treatment now available for patients with severe heart failure. The researchers plan to recruit a total of 20 patients throughout Québec in the first phase. A second Canadian centre, at the General Hospital of the University of Toronto, will also take part in the trial. In 2007, the CRCHUM, in collaboration with the MRH, began the COMPARE-AMI clinical trial, to evaluate the safety and feasibility of intramyocardial injection of stem cells (injecting them into the heart through a catheter) in a different group of patients who have suffered their first infarction.

(EurekAlert)

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