Scientists in Britain have discovered a Stem Cell Treatment for heart failure – which is the leading cause of death both in the UK and US. The treatment seeks to repair damaged heart tissue due to disease or heart attacks.
Approved clinical trials for this treatment involves more than 100 patients in London hospitals.
In normal hearts, electrical impulses signal the heart’s ventricles to beat simultaneously. In patients with heart failure, the electrical signals are disrupted causing desynchronised rhythm. This makes the heart less efficient.
Heart Failure has in the past been managed using Cardiac Resynchronisation Therapy which resynchronises the heart’s rhythm and improves efficiency. In this therapy a pacemaker is implanted under the skin and wires surgically placed in the right heart and in veins of the left heart. The wires carry electrical impulses that resynchronise the heart paces.
Breakthrough Heart Failure Treatment
Surgeons at an Oxford hospital in collaboration with Greek specialists recently had a major breakthrough when participants of their stem cell trials recovered fully.
These participants were suffering from severe heart failure and had less than 24 months to live. They received the stem cell injections along with bypass surgery.
Scarring of the heart had always been thought to be irreversible. The study was seen as an attempt to defy the impossible, yet the doctors have proven that Stem Cell Therapy can repair or reverse heart muscle damage.
Heart Failure Incidence
In the UK, the number of patients suffering from heart failure has grown by 36% in the 10 years leading up to 2015. A report by the British Heart Foundation shows that a third of those admitted for heart failure die within 12 months.
Doctors are excited that the approved trials will possibly lead to the availability of Stem Cell Treatment to thousands of cardiology patients. They could usher in a new era of treatment of heart failure without transplantation.
Professor Westaby who led the team of researchers in this study said: “This would be the biggest breakthrough since the first transplants three decades ago.”
He has been working on this technique for more than a decade. His inspiration came from a four-month-old baby’s heart that restored itself after a major surgical procedure. Prof Westaby cut away a third of the baby’s heart in an attempt to save her from dying of a serious and rare heart defect.
That was in 1999. Fourteen years later, a scan showed that the heart had healed itself. Now at 18, Kirsty has a normal heart.
Prof Westaby’s remarked: “The fact there was no sign of heart damage told me there were foetal stem cells in babies’ hearts that could remove scarring of heart muscle. That never happens in adults.”
In the trial stem cells are harvested, programmed and injected around the area of the scar tissue. The stem cells then get to promoting regeneration of the patient’s damaged cells. This procedure effectively reduced scarring of damaged tissue by up to 40 percent.
The trial participants underwent bypass surgery alongside the Stem Cell Treatment. There is need for the researchers to conduct more trials to determine the effectiveness of Stem Cell Therapy without the bypass surgery.
Contact us today to find out more about available Stem Cell Treatment options.