Stem Cells From Fat to Treat Heart Damage

From the MIT Technology Review: "Starting this month, a new European trial aims to determine whether stem cells harvested from a person's own fat, delivered shortly after a heart attack, could prevent some of the cardiac muscle damage that results from blocked arteries. During a heart attack, blood vessels that deliver blood to the heart muscle are blocked, and the lack of oxygen slowly kills the tissue. San Diego-based Cytori Therapeutics has developed a treatment that aims to prevent much of that muscle damage before it starts. It works by injecting a concentrated slurry of stem cells and other regenerative cells isolated from the patient's body directly into the heart's main artery within 24 hours after an attack. ... Time is muscle. The quicker you get in, the better. You can't do anything about dead tissue, but tissue that's bruised and damaged - that's revitalizable. If you can get new blood flow in there, that tissue comes back to life. ... fat tissue has its own population of stem cells that are more easily accessible and far more abundant than the ones in bone marrow. A typical sample of bone marrow yields about 5,000 stem cells; a sample of fat, gathered quickly through liposuction, can provide up to 200 times that amount. ... Fat tissue has been used for years by very astute surgeons, who just pulled pieces of fat into areas that weren't healing well. All the data so far has shown that these cells are safe, but beyond that, what are these cells doing? We just don't know. ... Cytori began a large-scale trial this month and hopes to test the procedure on 360 patients. The company aims to start large-scale clinical trials on heart attack patients in the United States by 2014 and on patients with chronic heart failure even earlier than that."

Link: http://technologyreview.com/biomedicine/32229/

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