Study Shows Risk of Heart Failure Reduced By Stem Cell Treatment
Heart failure affects nearly 6 million Americans, according to the Center for Disease Control. Promising results of a Phase II studies were presented Monday at an American Heart Association meeting in Orlando, Florida. The study, sponsored by Mesoblast Ltd. (MSB), found that patients with heart failure can now reduce future occurrences by as much as 80 percent using an experimental stem-cell treatment called Revascor, which is Mesoblast’s experimental drug. Revascor is derived from mesenchymal stem cells from another person.
The trial involved patients between the ages of 20 and 80 who were tracked for at least 12 months. In the study, 45 patients who have had previous history of moderate to severe congestive heart failure were give an shot of Revascor along with standard medicines. The negative control group had 15 people and didn’t receive the treatment. The results of the studies demonstrated the therapy was safe and well-tolerated at all doses an overall risk of a major adverse cardiac event was cut by 78 percent. During the follow-up period of 22 months, one patient in the group receiving the Revascor treatment died, while three fatalities were recorded in the control group.
Heart failure is primarily a chronic condition, but it can also develop suddenly. It occurs when the heart can no longer pump enough blood to the rest of the body. The most common cause of heart failure is coronary artery disease, which narrows the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart. Mesenchymal stem cells have the ability to differentiate into any other cell depending on the cellular signals it receives. The underlying theory is that the stem cells will differentiate into cardiac cells and will repair the damaged areas affected by heart failure, thus improving the damaged heart’s ability to pump out blood.
A rep from Mesoblast said that it expects to enter Phase III trials in the first half of next year. The treatment is projected to go on sale by 2015.