NRL News

Adult Stem Cells Help Heart Disease

by | Jul 16, 2011

By Wesley J. Smith

Editor’s note. This appears  on Wesley’s terrific blog

Moving forward on the adult stem cell front, a new study shows that human heart patients were helped significantly with an injection of adult stem cells in cases where no other treatment proved efficacious.  From the Cyprus Times story:

An injection of stem cells into the heart could offer hope to many of the 850,000 Americans whose chest pain doesn’t subside even with medicine, angioplasty or surgery, according to a study in Circulation Research: Journal of the American Heart Association. Patients who received the new treatment reported half as many chest pain episodes and improved exercise capability compared to those who received a placebo. The study was the first randomized, controlled trial of stem-cell therapy to show significant improvements in both chest pain and exercise tolerance – the two debilitating features of “refractory” angina, or chest pain that persists in spite of medication, surgery or angioplasty.

Other studies have been negative and some have shown improvements in either chest pain or exercise time, but no previous study has shown improvements in both chest pain and exercise time, said Douglas W. Losordo, M.D., lead researcher and professor of medicine and director of the Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Instituteat Northwestern University in Chicago. “One exciting potential of this procedure is that it will offer these folks an opportunity to get part of their lives back,” said Losordo, who is also director of the Program in Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Researchers used the patients’ CD34+ stem cells, which circulate through the blood and are important in forming new blood vessels. The stem cell injection is meant to create new vessels in the diseased heart muscle, improving blood flow to the area and reducing episodes of chest pain.

Subdued attention paid to this story by the MSM [Mainstream Media], considering that it involved human Phase II trials.  Of course, had it been embryonic cells that were injected, the headlines would have been heard around the world! 

Indeed, the LA Times headline about this adult stem cell study (and the trachea transplant I reported earlier) focused on embryonic stem cells, “Adult Stem Cell’s Successes Don’t Eliminate Need for Embryonic Stem Cells.”  Typical.

Categories: Adult Stem Cells