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Getting one dose of stem cells can reduce the danger of experiencing a heart attack or a stroke by 58%.

March 20, 2023

Heart failure has a novel foe in sight.

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Heart failure patients may have a new reason to hope. Recent research has shown that a revolutionary stem cell therapy is capable of reducing the possibility of heart attacks and strokes by more than 50%. This groundbreaking discovery could soon offer a previously unheard-of approach for the treatment of heart failure, giving doctors a new tool in their arsenal of medical treatments.

According to CNN, co-principal investigator Emerson Perin from the Texas Heart Institute stated that they have taken a significant leap in utilizing adult stem cells to treat heart conditions. Perin believes that this trial marks the beginning of a promising new era.

Over 6 million Americans suffer from chronic heart failure, indicating the inability of the heart to pump oxygen to the body effectively. As a result, the body lacks the required amount of oxygen, leading to organ harm and even death.

Heart failure diagnosis is based on the measurement of the percentage of blood leaving the heart with each pump, which is referred to as left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF). A healthy LVEF ranges from 55-70%. Heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) is diagnosed when the patient’s LVEF rating is below 40%.

Chronic heart failure is a condition that affects over 6 million individuals residing in the United States.

USA Today interviewed cardiologist Roberto Bolli, who was not part of the study, and he noted that although patients’ symptoms can be improved, their long-term prognosis remains poor. Bolli stated that patients’ conditions will inevitably decline as time passes.

Heart failure has a strong connection with inflammation. This reaction happens when the immune system releases cells to defend the body from a disease or damage. Although typically temporary, long-term inflammation in the heart can be risky.

Erin Michos, the associate director of preventive cardiology from Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease at Johns Hopkins University, who didn’t participate in the recent research, suggests that inflammation has its benefits when it comes to temporary ailments.

She explains that constant inflammation can cause damage to your blood vessels, potentially leading to the growth of plaques, weakening of arterial plaque, and formation of blood clots – which are the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes.

Mesoblast, a regenerative medicine firm, is working on a therapy for heart failure that specifically focuses on inflammation by using stem cells in the heart.

In the laboratory, there is a proprietary method for generating mesenchymal precursor cells (MPCs), a type of stem cell known for its anti-inflammatory properties, extracted from the bone marrow of healthy adult donors.

Perin explained that cells possess specific receptors for various inflammatory substances, including interleukins and others, thereby tackling inflammation directly.

As per his statement, introducing these cells into an inflamed heart leads to their activation as they sense the urgency to respond to the critical situation. The cells react as if the house is on fire and immediately release different types of anti-inflammatory substances to combat the inflammation.

There was a substantial reduction of 58% in the risk of heart attack or stroke for the participants who received treatment.

In the largest clinical trial of its kind, Mesoblast has tested its new therapy, dubbed “rexlemestrocel-L,” for the treatment of chronic heart failure. The trial was conducted in a double-blind, randomized phase 3 format and the findings have been publicly reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

537 patients diagnosed with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction were divided into two groups; one group received an injection of 150 million MPCs directly into their cardiac muscle, while the other group received a sham treatment. It’s worth noting that all participants continued to receive standard heart failure treatment during the trial.

The rate of adverse events in both the groups receiving the treatment and the placebo was similar. There was no indication of any immune-related reaction to the therapy in any of the patients who were administered with stem cells. Therefore, it can be inferred that the treatment is secure and doesn’t cause any severe side effects.

Regrettably, the primary objective of the study was not achieved as there was no significant decrease in the number of hospitalizations for decompensated heart failure post-treatment. This implies that both the treatment and placebo groups recorded a similar outcome.

The trial had reliably attained other predetermined goals. “Pre-specified” describes that the aims were established ahead of the research, indicating that the results were not uncovered only upon analysis of the available data.

During a follow-up period of around 30 months, participants who received treatment witnessed a lowered possibility of encountering a heart attack or stroke at one endpoint. This decline in risk amounted to 58% in contrast to those who were administered a placebo. Results were even better for patients exhibiting high levels of inflammation, as they observed a massive 75% reduction in risk.

Participants who received an MPC injection experienced a substantial improvement in LVEF during the first year of treatment. This improvement was observed as a pre-specified endpoint, and it was particularly notable in those who had high levels of inflammation.

Perin revealed to the European Pharmaceutical Review that stem cells have been found to effectively treat the inflammation that leads to heart failure, marking a groundbreaking discovery.

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