The American Heart Association (AHA) reported positive results on a Phase I clinical trial using a patient's stem cells to patch damaged heart muscles in a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
The study enrolled 27 patients who were not responding well to standard treatments for heart failure, the AHA said in a release. Patches made from cells taken from the patients' thigh muscles were glued to the patients' damaged heart muscles. After one year, the patients' exercise capacity and heart functions were improved.
While the Japanese researchers reported positive results, the treatment will require larger trials to validate the initial results. A variety of short-term treatments already exist for heart failure, but using stem cells to regenerate the heart is a long-term solution.
Heart failure, also known as congestive heart failure, is a condition where the heart muscle is weakened or stiffened and unable to pump blood efficiently. Heart failure can be caused by coronary heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and other conditions. Prompt treatment with medications or implantable devices plus losing weight, exercising and managing stress helps extend patients' lifespans and improve their quality of life.