The Austin, Texas TV station, KEYE, has a report on the research trial using donated adult stem cells from bone marrow in patients within 10 days of a heart attack. (I’ve highlighted the part about the bone marrow.)
(CBS 42) AUSTIN
A clinical stem cell trial involving Austin patients has some doctors saying it may change medicine forever.
The trial involves heart attack patients using adult stem cells. The stem cells are from the donated bone marrow of healthy adults.
The trial is in its first phase, with just 10 sites around the nation. Doctors are already saying the results hold the promise of doing what has never been done before, rebuilding heart muscle of heart attack patients.
Ben Calvo, a math teacher, was willing to take what he considers a calculated risk. He’s one of 53 heart attack patients in the nation taking part in an adult stem cell clinical trial.
“I don’t feel like a guinea pig,” Calvo said. “I don’t want to say I feel super human, but I feel just great.”
Dr. Roger Gammon is director of research at Austin Heart, cardiologist providers in Central Texas. He says that in the double blind study, within 10 days of a heart attack, some patients received adult stem cells from donated bone marrow and other patients received a placebo.
“We hang a bag that has millions of stem cells in it,” Gammon said. “They infuse through the vein and travel to where there is an injury. It’s just a simple intravenous infusion over 30 minutes.”
Calvo thinks he received the real thing. According to recent images of his heart, so does Gammon.
“Now, his whole heart is moving well,” Gammon said.
The image of Calvo’s heart is amazing because, up until this study, nothing could repair damaged heart muscle.
“They don’t just patch the problem, they actually become heart tissue that starts beating,” Gammon said.
“I feel that I can breathe better,” Calvo said.
Gammon says there was no rejection. He says some patients also had unexpected improved lung function and less irregular heartbeats.
“There seems to be an amazing homing mechanism with these cells to where they can figure out where there is an injury in your body and they go there and start to heal it,” Gammon said.
Calvo believes healing heart muscle is exactly what he experienced. Calvo also had some stents put in after his surgery.
Before this can become an approved treatment, many more people need to be studied to see if the results continue to be promising. But if they do, Gammon suspects this treatment may also help other inflammatory conditions like Alzheimer’s.
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