Stem cell therapy can help patients with heart failure
Stem cells reprogrammed to heal the heart muscle improved patients’ quality of life
Patients who got the therapy also had fewer deaths and hospitalizations
FRIDAY, Dec. 15, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- Patients with advanced heart failure can benefit from stem cell therapy, a large, new clinical trial has found.
Injections of stem cells programmed to heal damaged heart tissue wound up improving overall quality of life for heart failure patients, compared to those who received a placebo treatment.
“Data from one of the largest cardiovascular cell therapy trials, testing a regenerative technology discovered at Mayo Clinic, indicate benefit in both quantity and quality of life in advanced heart disease," said researcher Dr. Satsuki Yamada, a Mayo Clinic heart doctor.
For this study, researchers recruited 315 patients from 39 hospitals in 10 countries who had advanced heart failure that wasn’t responding to standard treatment like a heart-healthy diet, medications, implantable devices or cardiac rehabilitation.
Heart failure can develop as a result of a heart attack, as damage to the cardiac muscle weakens the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body, researchers explained in background notes.
People with heart failure often experience shortness of breath, fatigue and swollen legs as their progressive disease limits their daily activities and diminishes their quality of life.
“Heart failure is an emerging epidemic in need of new healing options," researcher Dr. Andre Terzic, director of the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine, said in a Mayo news release.
The patients in the study were randomly divided into those who would receive stem cell therapy and those who would not.
Stem cells were taken from the bone marrow of patients chosen to receive the therapy and reprogrammed to repair their damaged heart muscle, then injected into their hearts.
Self-assessments filed by patients at regular intervals following treatment revealed that those who got stem cell therapy consistently reported improved quality of life, compared with those who didn’t get the treatment.
The stem cell patients also had lower death and hospitalization rates. The findings were published recently in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine.
"The benefit of regenerative care has been typically evaluated on the basis of clinician-reported outcomes,” Yamada said. “What's unique in this study is that it was designed to listen to the patient's experience."
Harvard Medical School has more about stem cell therapy for the heart.
SOURCE: Mayo Clinic, news release, Dec. 12, 2023
Patients with heart failure should ask their doctor about whether stem cell therapy could help them.