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Bone marrow cells improve failing heart function

Orlando, Fla. Bone marrow stem cell therapy holds promise as a novel therapy for heart failure, offering a sustained improvement up to six months, according to research presented today at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2003.

Researchers at the Texas Heart Institute in Houston tested mononuclear bone marrow cell transplant injections in patients with severe ischemic heart failure -- the first such study in a severely ill population. There are few treatment options for patients with end-stage ischemic heart failure, according to the study's lead author Emerson C. Perin, M.D., Ph.D., a clinical assistant professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston.

Previous laboratory research has shown that mononuclear cells taken from bone marrow then injected into human tissue can promote growth in oxygen-deprived tissue. Mononuclear cells can differentiate into tissue and new blood vessels, and secrete a wide variety of proteins and growth factors, said Perin, who is also director of new cardiovascular interventional technology at the Texas Heart Institute.

Treated patients had better blood flow and could walk longer on treadmill tests than controls. They also reported less chest pain and were able to breathe better.

"To have the sustained ability to exercise at six months is significantly different than the controls. They're functional and they have their lives back," Perin said.

Researchers conducted a controlled, open label, non-blinded study of 20 patients (average age 58) with severe heart failure.

Eleven patients received injections in the left ventricle of their heart with their own mononuclear cells. The procedure involved extracting 50 milliliters of bone marrow and isolating the mononuclear cells. Using a guided imaging and mapping system, researchers carefully aimed the cells into the areas of the heart with blocked blood flow. The pr
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Contact: Carole Bullock
carole.bullock@heart.org
214-706-1279
American Heart Association
10-Nov-2003


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