Regenerative stem cell therapy offers new hope for treating cardiovascular disease

November 17, 2010, Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Northwestern Medicine physician researchers are revolutionizing treatment of cardiovascular disease by utilizing patients' own stem cells to regenerate heart and vascular tissue. Northwestern Medicine is the lead site for a study examining stem cell transplantation as treatment for critical limb ischemia. Chief investigator Douglas Losordo, MD, director of the Program in Cardiovascular Regenerative Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the Eileen M. Foell Professor of Heart Research of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, will present the findings of this study at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions in Chicago, on Wednesday, November 17.

"Traditionally, cardiovascular medicine has focused on repairing damaged tissues with medication or surgery," said Losordo, also director of the Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute. "For some patients, their cardiovascular disease is advanced to the point that standard treatment options are not effective. Regenerative cardiovascular medicine strives to redevelop cardiac and vascular tissue and stimulate new blood supply to areas like the heart and legs by using already present in the patient's body."

Losordo's limb preservation study examined the effectiveness of in limb preservation for patients with critical limb ischemia (CLI). CLI develops in patients with severe obstruction of the arteries which limits blood flow to the extremities. CLI results in more than 100,000 amputations annually in the United States. The trial tested the ability of CD34+ cells to stimulate new blood vessel formation in ischemic limbs, which can improve perfusion and salvage function.

The phase II, double-blind placebo controlled trial had a total of 28 patients randomized at 18 U.S. sites. The patients enrolled in this study were Rutherford class 4 and 5, meaning they were in the later stages of and at heightened risk for amputation. Patients in the randomized group had CD34 injected at eight locations in the ischemic limb and were followed for 12 months.

"Stem cell treatment was associated with a significant reduction in amputation rate," said Losordo. "Treatment was associated with a 50 percent reduction in the total amputation rate compared to control. Although further study is needed, these results provide evidence that CD34 cell therapy is an effective treatment for critical limb ischemia."

Losordo and his Northwestern Medicine team are leading the field of stem cell therapy for cardiovascular conditions and bringing it to the forefront of medicine. "The results of this study are encouraging and provide evidence for that stem cell therapy can significantly repair cardiac and vascular tissues," said Losordo. "As study of stem cells continues, I believe we're on the verge of a rebirth in the practice of medicine. Using a patient's own cells to regenerate their body has enormous potential to treat conditions that have previously been considered irreversible."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study looks at how newly discovered gene helps grow blood vessels

February 19, 2018
A new study published today found that a newly discovered gene helps grow blood vessels when it senses inadequate blood flow to tissues.

Scientists produce human intestinal lining that re-creates living tissue inside organ-chip

February 16, 2018
Investigators have demonstrated how cells of a human intestinal lining created outside an individual's body mirror living tissue when placed inside microengineered Intestine-Chips, opening the door to personalized testing ...

Data wave hits health care

February 16, 2018
Technology used by Facebook, Google and Amazon to turn spoken language into text, recognize faces and target advertising could help doctors fight one of the deadliest infections in American hospitals.

Researcher explains how statistics, neuroscience improve anesthesiology

February 16, 2018
It's intuitive that anesthesia operates in the brain, but the standard protocol among anesthesiologists when monitoring and dosing patients during surgery is to rely on indirect signs of arousal like movement, and changes ...

Team reports progress in pursuit of sickle cell cure

February 16, 2018
Scientists have successfully used gene editing to repair 20 to 40 percent of stem and progenitor cells taken from the peripheral blood of patients with sickle cell disease, according to Rice University bioengineer Gang Bao.

Appetite-controlling molecule could prevent 'rebound' weight gain after dieting

February 15, 2018
Scientists have revealed how mice control their appetite when under stress such as cold temperatures and starvation, according to a new study by Monash University and St Vincent's Institute in Melbourne. The results shed ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

neiorah
not rated yet Nov 19, 2010
I am so encouraged by this because they do not have to use aborted embryo's for harvesting stem cells.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.