A new research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2021 says that stem cell therapy can help heart failure (HF) patients decrease their risk of a non-fatal myocardial infarction (MI) or stroke.
Researchers tracked data from 537 patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). Eighty percent of the patients were men, and the median age was 63 years old. Patients were split into two groups: 261 patients were injected with 150 million mesenchymal precursor cells [stem cells] provided by healthy donors directly into the heart using a catheter, and 276 patients underwent a fake procedure. According to the authors, patients were discharged from the hospital the day after the procedure and were followed for an average of 30 months.
Overall, the team associated stem cell use with a 65% decrease in non-fatal MIs and stroke events. Also, patients with high levels of inflammation (CRP levels of at least 2 mg/L) were 79% less likely to have non-fatal MI or stroke after being given stem cells. Moreover, stem cell treatment lowered cardiac death by 80% in patients with high levels of inflammation and less severe HF. However, the team added, there was no reduction in hospitalizations for HF among patients who received stem cells.
Lead author Emerson C. Perin, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Clinical Research and medical director of the Texas Heart Institute in Houston, said that Cell therapy has the potential to change how we treat HF. Also study addresses the inflammatory aspects of HF, which go mostly untreated, despite significant pharmaceutical and device therapy development. Our findings indicate stem cell therapy may be considered for use in addition to standard guideline therapies. For the first time, the known anti-inflammatory mechanism of action of these cells may be linked to a cause-and-effect benefit in HF.
The stem cells acted locally in the heart, and they also helped in blood vessels throughout the body. Additional research is still needed to better understand how stem cells may affect the progression of HF.