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Infusion of patient's own bone marrow into damaged heart muscle increased left ventricular function, exercise ability.

Left ventricular function and exercise capacity increased, while the area of the heart muscle damaged shrank, in 18 patients given infusions of their own bone marrow cells up to eight years after a heart attack, according to a new study.

The study, which was published in the Nov. 1, 2005 Journal of the American College of Cardiology, is the first to report the results of stem cell infusions into the arteries of patients many months or years after a heart attack. The researchers procured the bone marrow from the hip bones of the patients, so there was no threat of transplant rejection. After processing, stem cells from the marrow were infused through a catheter into the coronary artery where the patient's heart attack occurred.

"This new therapy is able to treat until now irreversible heart complaints and function disturbances in patients with chronic coronary artery disease after myocardial infarction, even many years after heart attack. Therefore there is hope for this large amount of patients with previous myocardial infarction and non-treatable complaints," said Bodo Strauer, MD, the lead author of the study, from the Heinrich-Heine-University in Dusseldorf, Germany.

"The main results were at least threefold: an improvement in global left ventricular function by 15%, infarction wall movement velocity rose 57%, and there was a significant reduction of infarct size by 30%," Strauer said. "Concerning all those parameters, no significant changes were seen in a representative control group. Moreover, after bone marrow cell transplantation, an improvement of maximum oxygen uptake by 11% and of 18F-fluor-desoxy-glucose uptake by 15%, which represents myocardial metabolism and viability, into infarct tissue was observed."

Roberto Bolli, MD, from the University of Louisville, in KY, co-author of an editorial appearing with the study, wrote that a 'veritable revolution" is underway to overturn the belief that heart muscle was incapable of regeneration. He noted that previous studies showed benefits from injecting stem cells directly into damaged heart muscle or performing intracoronary infusions of stem cells into affected coronary arteries soon after a heart attack.

"The importance of the present study is that it shows that intracoronary delivery of bone marrow cells improves function and flow in patients with old myocardial infarction. This widens dramatically the applicability of stem cell therapies," Bolli said. "I believe that clinical applicability of stem cells will become a reality in one to two years."
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Publication:Transplant News
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 15, 2005
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