DAVID GRANOVSKY

HEARTS and KNEES – Patient, heal thyself | sciencebuz

In VICTORIES & SUCCESS STORIES on January 21, 2012 at 9:20 am

“The first study…uses stem cell therapy to repair heart tissue damaged by coronary heart disease. Of the 16 patients injected with autologous CSCs, 14 showed an increase in Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction (LVEF)…In seven of the patients, infarct (dead tissue) size decreased by 24 % at the end of 4 months, and a further 6 % at the end of a year. Both these results indicate CSCs had a positive impact on heart tissue regeneration.

The second study…focuses on using autologous stem cell therapy for repair of torn meniscal tissue…The “Cell Bandage” from Azellon will use patients own, expanded stem cells, harvested from the bone marrow…will grow into new menisci-type cells and heal the tear. The results of in vitro trials have so far been very promising. Phase I clinical trials are set to begin May 2012.”

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Two reports in the press this week focus on the use of autologous (patient’s own) stem cells for repair of damaged tissue.

The first study, led by Professor Roberto Bolli, of the University of Louisville, reports on early findings of a phase I clinical trial, which uses stem cell therapy to repair heart tissue damaged by coronary heart disease. Cardiac tissue, harvested from the patient during surgery, was used to  isolate autologous cardiac stem cells (CSCs). CSCs were grown in the laboratory till their numbers reached around 2 million cells. At this stage the cells were re-injected back at the site of tissue damage.

Of the 16 patients injected with autologous CSCs, 14 showed an increase in Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction (LVEF) – the amount of blood a left ventricle pumps through the aorta during each contraction of the heart, 4 months after infusion. In seven of the patients, infarct (dead tissue) size decreased by 24 % at the end of 4 months, and a further 6 % at the end of a year. Both these results indicate CSCs had a positive impact on heart tissue regeneration.

The second study, led by Professor Anthony Hollander, of Azellon Ltd, a University of Bristol spin-out company, focuses on using autologous stem cell therapy for repair of torn meniscal tissue. The menisci are found at the knee joints, and they act as shock absorbers for the knee. This tissue is often damaged as a result of sport-related injury, especially contact sports such as football or rugby.

Current treatment options include knee arthroscopy surgery, which involves removing part or whole of the damaged meniscal tissue. This reduces the shock-absorbing properties at the knee joint and leaves the patient vulnerable to early-onset osteoarthritis, eventually followed by total knee replacement.

The “Cell Bandage” from Azellon will use patients own, expanded stem cells, harvested from the bone marrow. These cells are seeded onto a special biocompatible membrane, which will be inserted at the site of damage using a simple surgical procedure.  Given the right conditions, the hope is that stem cells will grow into new menisci-type cells and heal the tear. The results of in vitro trials have so far been very promising. Phase I clinical trials are set to begin May 2012.

Patient, heal thyself | sciencebuz.

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