Could Stem Cell Therapy Help Heart Failure Patients?
Timothy Henry, MD, FSCAI: Could Stem Cell Therapy Help Heart Failure Patients?
Approximately 5.8 million people in the United States have heart failure, meaning the heart is not able to pump enough blood to fulfill the needs of the body. Heart failure patients struggle with symptoms such as shortness of breath, swelling in the arms and legs, and pronounced fatigue. These symptoms profoundly affect quality of life, and, unfortunately, there is currently no cure. Physicians and other scientists are working hard to change both of these realities for heart failure patients. In addition to seeking a cure, they are exploring options for alleviating symptoms and restoring quality of life.
Data from a study presented this month suggest they may be on the right track with a form of stem cell therapy that uses the patient’s own bone marrow cells to repair damaged heart muscle. Investigators at the Minneapolis Heart Institute shared promising results for the safety of this experimental therapy as well as its ability to reverse some of the damage to heart muscle and alleviate some symptoms. The study is in the very early stages but offers a glimpse into how interventional cardiologists are innovating to develop new therapies for cardiovascular disease. In this video, Dr. Timothy Henry explains his research and where it may lead.