Stem Cell Therapy: New Hope for the Failing Heart

By: Gregory Smyth

Stem cells are undivided or partially divided cells. Therefore, they possess the ability to dividing, renewing themselves and also creating specialized cell types, a phenomenon known as plasticity or transdifferentiation. Stem cells can be procured from many sources such as embryo, fetal, umbilical cord blood, bone marrow or peripheral blood. The adult stem cells are those located in the mature tissue.

Some scientists give the term "somatic stem cell" instead of adult stem cell. Most fetal and adult stem cells are recognized as multipotent and therefore having the potential to produce a small range of differentiated cell lineages suitable to their location.

Some adult stem cells or progenitor cells with the least differentiation capability such as skeletal myoblasts, angiogenic precursor cells (APCs) or epidermal stem cells in the basal layer of the skin are considered to be unipotent.

Treatment for the patients with heart failure and patients having damaged heart muscle from blockage of the coronary artery can be provided using angiogenic precursor cells created from the patient's own peripheral blood. The patient will go through his/her medical history and physical examinations as usual.

Numerous blood tests will be screened for the blood concentration, infection (e.g. hepatitis, HIV, bacteremia) and general health (e.g. liver and kidney function). The Six-Minute method will be utilized to review the physical status of the patient before and after surgery. Apart from this, the magnetic resonance imaging of the heart will be utilized to review the heart muscle viability.

If the patients are eligible for the therapy, a 250 cc of autologous blood will be obtained from the patients and it will be then presented to the laboratory for cell selection and expansion. These procedures take about 1 week. Then, the final cell product is returned to the hospital for the administration.

The cardiac surgeon will form a small incision at the left side of the chest wall. The thoracoscopic camera will be inserted through a small hole into the thoracic cavity to assist with the process. Generally, the cells will be injected directly into the cardiac muscle where the damaged heart muscle is spotted by the magnetic resonance imaging of the heart.

Up to date, the cell therapy from diverse kinds of cell origins and from diverse types of administrations supports the point that this cell therapy is feasible and betters the function of the damaged heart muscle. These APCs have the ability to generate new vessels and perhaps new heart muscles. This new area in medicine and fast evolving field require more comprehensive research.

The new blood vessels created using adult stem cell therapy improve blood flow to the heart as well as produce new tissue in the heart muscle itself. The adult stem cell therapy provides with an increased ability to do everyday tasks, a noticeable rise in energy and hence an enhanced quality of life for most of women and men who have undergone stem cell treatment.

Adult stem cell therapy can also provide relief for people suffering from coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy and severe angina.

Heart Conditions
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