Human Exceptionalism

Another Adult Stem Cell Human Trial to Start

This time in the UK, using a patient’s own bone marrow to attempt to treat heart attack damage. From the story:

British scientists have been given the go-ahead to begin potentially ground-breaking experiments using injections of stem cells to repair patients’ damaged hearts. The team hopes to repair the organs of people who have suffered the most severe heart attacks…

The trial will involve patients with the worst prognosis, those who have scarring on at least half of the left ventricular wall. “It’s the worst heart attack you can have. Most patients just die,” said Ascione.

The team will extract bone marrow from all 60 patients and separate out a class of stem cells that makes up 1% of the tissue. Previous studies have suggested that this cell type is able to regenerate heart muscle cells and blood vessels. By using the patient’s own cells there will be no problems with tissue rejection…In his patients the team will examine the size of the scarred tissue in the heart six months after the operation using an imaging technique called heart MRI. That will give an accurate measure of improvement.

A human trial does not a cure make, but this is another example of how quickly adult stem cell therapies are moving from the theoretical into practical training. Let’s all keep our fingers crossed.

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