04 February 2015

Donor stem cells against heart attack

Spanish doctors used stem cells for the first time
to treat the effects of a heart attack

DailyTechInfo based on TV News: Spanish hospital uses stem cells to fix heart attack damage

For the first time in the history of medicine, doctors working in one of the hospitals in Spain, with the help of stem cells, successfully treated seven patients who had suffered severe heart attacks. And the most interesting thing is that in this case, stem cells taken from other human donors were used to restore the affected cardiac tissues. "Seven patients on whom the new treatment and recovery technique was tested feel well and are recovering quickly, despite the fact that their heart tissues suffered serious damage during the attack," reads an official statement published by representatives of the Gregorio Maranon Hospital in Madrid.

As part of the ongoing program of clinical trials of the new method, it is planned to treat 55 more patients who have suffered a myocardial infarction of varying severity. And this is the first time that so-called allogeneic stem cells were used for treatment, cells taken from another person who has significant genetic differences with the patient.

The stem cells were injected through the coronary artery seven days after the moment of the attack. By this time, the patients' condition had already been stabilized, and the use of stem cells only accelerated the process of restoring the affected cardiac tissues and the speed of rehabilitation of patients.

A myocardial infarction, known as a heart attack, occurs when the blood flow that supplies oxygen to the heart muscle is blocked. If the heart does not receive enough oxygen for a long time, part of the heart muscle tissue begins to die. And after that, scar tissue forms in place of dead tissues, which cannot contract, which reduces the ability of the heart to pump blood and which, in turn, increases the load on the heart.

For quite a long time, doctors have been searching for methods of restoring injured heart muscle tissues. And the first experiments in this direction, which used stem cells removed from the patient's bone marrow, were conducted back in 2001. Since that time, several clinical trials have been conducted that have demonstrated a lot of advantages of this approach.

In such clinical trials, stem cells taken directly from the patient have always been used, i.e. his own cells that are one hundred percent compatible with his body. But such a method requires a long time, processing and preparation for the use of the patient's own stem cells takes from 4 to 8 weeks of time, during which a scar has already formed on the affected cardiac tissues. Stem cells taken from a human donor can be prepared in advance and stored in a special bank. And when a patient who has suffered a heart attack is admitted for treatment, doctors will only have to choose those of the ready-to-use cells that will be maximally compatible with the patient's body.

According to the World Health Organization, 17 million people die annually in the world from various diseases of the cardiovascular system, and most of this number falls on heart attacks, myocardial infarctions. Therefore, the development of such methods of treating the effects of seizures and their further use in clinical practice will significantly reduce mortality, which is one of the main tasks of modern medicine.

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