Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

A new article in the Journal of the American Medical Association has revealed that adult stem cells taken from the bone marrow of anonymous adult donors is just as effective for patients being treated for heart failure. The study followed 30 patients for 13 months. Half of the patients received a placebo and half received injected mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) at varying rates. The results of the study demonstrated that the patients receiving the “MSC injection favorably affected patient functional capacity, quality of life, and ventricular remodeling.”

The results were published November 6, 2012 in JAMA and will be presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2012 in Los Angeles.

Joshua Hare, director of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida, said, “This cell therapy clearly had some clinical benefits and the mesenchymal stem cells from donors were just as safe as those from the recipient…Even in patients who had heart attacks several decades before treatment, both donor and recipient stem cells reduced the amount of scarring substantially, by one-third.”

This is an exciting discovery, because it means heart patients may not have to wait the typical eight weeks to have enough of their own stem cells harvested and prepared; they could instead benefit from donor stem cells. Unlike donated organs, the body does not reject donor stem cells.

Because of the positive results of  this small study, the group intends to conduct a larger, placebo-controlled study to further investigate the benefit of using MSCs in heart disease patients.

“Comparison of Allogeneic vs Autologous Bone Marrow–Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Delivered by Transendocardial Injection in Patients With Ischemic Cardiomyopathy: The POSEIDON Randomized Trial.”; Hare JM, Fishman JE, Gerstenblith G, and others; JAMA, published online first 6 Nov 2012; DOI:10.1001/jama.2012.25321; Article