Louisville man benefits from heart stem cell treatment
Michael Jones, 66, has benefited from the experimental stem cell treatment of his heart. The stem cell heart treatment is part of an FDA approved Phase I clinical trial being conducted by University of Louisville physicians at Jewish Hospital.
Jones who is a self-employed contractor from Louisville is the first patient to take part in the clinical trial. His severe congestive heart failure was treated with the stem cell treatment. The procedure involved injecting his own cardiac stem cells into his damaged heart muscle. It was done on July 17. He shows already had 20-30% improvement of his heart function since the treatment.
Heart failure is a leading cause of death in the United States, affecting some 6 million Americans a year. Half of the patients die within one year. Doctors have had little to offer patients with late-stage heart failure. With major muscle damage to the heart, patients have the option of a heart transplant or implantation of a mechanically assisted heart device.
The researchers, headed by study leader Roberto Bolli, plan to enroll up to 20 people with damaged hearts in the Phase I clinical trial over the next two years. Each patient will undergo the experimental procedure using their own stem cells.
If the use of stem cells to repair the damaged heart muscle works, it will be a revolutionary treatment for heart failure. The procedure is reported to be relatively simple and inexpensive.
It takes doctors only about 10 to 15 minutes to harvest the stem cells from the patient’s heart. The cells then are isolated, grown in a culture to increase their numbers and injected back into heart scar tissue in a minimally invasive cardiac catheterization procedure that reaches the heart through an artery in the patient’s leg.
Doctors will recheck Jones every few months for the next two years to measure his recovery.
Jones said before he underwent the procedure, he could barely pass a football “three or four times” but now is exercising three times a day. “I may even start jogging again,” he said.
A California hospital performed a similar procedure last month but used a different population of stem cells.