The study will determine whether stem cell therapy holds promise for people with severe coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure not amenable to standard therapies, according to Vincent Pompili, MD, Director of Interventional Cardiology at UHC and the study's principal investigator. If the approach proves successful in mice, Dr. Pompili says, clinical trials in human subjects could begin within 18 months. Dr. Pompili is also associate professor of medicine at Case Western Reserve University.
An estimated 5 million Americans have congestive heart failure, a condition that disables the heart muscle and causes the heart to pump inefficiently. About half of all heart failure patients die within five years of their diagnosis, reports the Heart Failure Society of America.
The stem cell treatment, called "therapeutic angiogenesis," is designed to grow new blood vessels in damaged heart muscle by infusing stem cells from the cord blood. Stem cells--immature cells that develop into mature red blood cells, platelets or white blood cells--have proved to be an effective arsenal for other fatal diseases.
"For years, we have successfully treated young leukemia patients with cord blood stem cells," says Mary J. Laughlin, MD, Director of Allogeneic Bone Marrow Transplantation at UHC and co-investigator. Dr. Laughlin, assistant professor of medicine at CWRU, is the nation's leading expert in the use of cord blood to restore the blood-making ability of bone marrow damaged by high doses of chemotherapy.
Contact: Eric Sandstrom or Denise Haviland
University Hospitals of Cleveland