The work of Amit Patel, which has been published in The Lancet, was highlighted at the American Cardiology Society Congress held in early April. This Utah University scientist and his team developed cell therapy based on haematopoietic stem cells for patients presenting with terminal heart failure.
These adult stem cells are mainly present in the bone marrow and can “generate cartilage cells, muscle cells or cardiac cells”. Having collected stem cells from 109 patients, the scientists cultured these cells and then implanted them in about fifty patients (the other half of the patients were given a placebo). The patients were followed up for one year. By the end of this follow-up period, “cardiac accidents, the number of hospital admissions and the number of deaths due to heart failure had fallen by 37% in stem cell injection recipients”.
These results “are positive and encouraging” but the follow-up period must be extended and no “improvement in heart function” was confirmed at the end of this study. The studies will therefore continue “with a larger patient cohort”.
In France, Professor Ménasché carried out a clinical trial based on embryo stem cells in the management of heart failure but, for the time being, the team has simply demonstrated that “the technique is feasible”.