News / Health

Stem Cell Treatment Boosts Heart Function

Study notes 'striking' improvement in heart failure patients

The heart's ability to pump blood improved after  patients were injected with adult stem cells taken from their own hearts, according to a study led by Dr. Roberto Bolli of the University of Louisville.
The heart's ability to pump blood improved after patients were injected with adult stem cells taken from their own hearts, according to a study led by Dr. Roberto Bolli of the University of Louisville.

Multimedia

Audio
Art Chimes

A stem cell treatment for patients with heart failure significantly improved their heart function in a small but promising new study.

In heart failure, the heart loses its ability to efficiently pump blood. It is most often caused by a heart attack, which destroys some of the muscle tissue essential to a normal heartbeat.

In this new study, patients were injected with adult stem cells taken from their own hearts. These are a special kind of undifferentiated cell found throughout the body that helps to maintain and repair the tissue in which they are found.



Doctors use a measure called 'ejection fraction' to describe the heart's ability to pump blood. Study author Dr. Roberto Bolli of the University of Louisville says people in the control group showed no significant improvement in that measure. But he called the improvement in the stem cell patients "striking."

"At four months, the pumping ability of the heart was markedly improved," he reports. "The ejection fraction increased by eight points at four months, and at one year it increased by 12 points. Now, this is a huge increase, much greater than what we even hoped for when we started our study."

And Bolli says there was a significant improvement in the ability of the stem cell recipients to exercise.

The study participants also got MRI scans before and after treatment. A year after getting the stem cells, the images showed a 30 percent reduction in the scars of dead heart muscle.

"The reduction of the scar implies that new heart muscle is being produced to replace that scar. And so it is evidence that the stem cells are regenerating new heart muscle."

This ongoing study is very small, with just 16 patients in the stem cells group, plus seven more in the control group. But a commentary published with his paper says Bolli's findings "raise new optimism" because of the study's rigorous quality and unexpectedly good results.

Bolli published his findings in The Lancet and presented them at the American Heart Association meeting in Florida.

Also at that Heart Association meeting: another report of stem cell research, though with less promising results. In a study published in the journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA, researchers gave recent heart attack victims stem cells taken from their bone marrow. The idea was to prevent the onset of heart failure. Earlier studies had suggested the technique might work. But in this case, after six months there was no improvement in heart function.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid