Stem cells to treat heart failure

Currently over 6.5 million people in the US are affected by heart failure. This number is “expected to rise by 46 percent by the year 2030.” Heart failure is a chronic condition where the heart’s muscles weaken and it doesn’t pump blood as well as it should. “Half of all heart failure patients are expected to die within the first 5 years after the diagnosis, and the 10-year survival rate is less than 30 percent.” New research shows hope for people suffering from this disease.

In a new trial, Dr. Jorge Bartolucci, a professor in Chile, along with his colleagues looked at injecting stem cells derived from the umbilical cord into patients who currently suffer from heart failure. The results were not only encouraging but “the therapy improved the hearts’ ability to pump blood in the year after the treatment. The stem cell therapy also seemed to improve the daily functioning and quality of life of those treated.”

“No adverse effects or inflammatory immune responses were noted during the treatment, despite the fact that typically, patients who receive blood transfusions are prone to adverse immune reactions. The treatment was “feasible and safe,” the authors conclude, and it “resulted in a significant improvement in left ventricular function, functional status, and quality of life.”

The results from this trial look promising for future testing in larger clinical trials. Considering the current treatments for heart failure, this new treatment is less invasive and is a step closer to helping those affected by this disease.  

Learn more about cord blood and tissue clinical trials.