Umbilical cord stem cells show promise as heart failure treatment

September 26, 2017, American Heart Association

A heart failure treatment using umbilical cord-derived stem cells may lead to notable improvements in heart muscle function and quality of life, according to a new study published in Circulation Research, an American Heart Association journal.

"We are encouraged by our findings because they could pave the way to a non-invasive, promising new therapy for a group of patients who face grim odds," said study corresponding author Fernando Figueroa, M.D., professor of medicine at the Universidad de los Andes in Chile.

In this trial, 30 patients, ages 18 to 75, with stable receiving optimal drug therapy underwent intravenous infusions with either umbilical cord-derived stem cells or placebo. The umbilical cords were obtained from full-term human placentas from healthy donors by caesarean section after informed consent.

Compared to the placebo treatment, the :

  • showed sustained and "significant" improvement in the hearts' ability to pump blood in the year following treatment;
  • resulted in greater improvements on measures of daily functional status and quality of life; and
  • was safe with no adverse effects or development of alloantibodies, a common immune complication in patients receiving organ transplants or blood transfusions.

Researchers have previously assessed the potential of bone marrow-derived stem cells as treatment; however, intravenous umbilical cord-derived stem cells have never been evaluated. The latter type has been particularly appealing because they are easily accessible, widely available, unlikely to cause immune complications and free of the ethical concerns that surround , the researchers noted.

"Standard drug-based regimens can be suboptimal in controlling heart failure, and patients often have to progress to more invasive therapies such as mechanical ventricular assist devices and heart transplantation," said lead study author Jorge Bartolucci M.D., a cardiologist from Cells for Cells and professor at the Universidad de los Andes.

Heart failure, marked by the heart muscle's inability to pump blood efficiently, affects some 37 million people worldwide. Despite medical advances, half of patients diagnosed with failure will die within five years of diagnosis, according to Figueroa. If affirmed in larger studies, these findings could provide a promising new treatment option for a condition that currently has few.

Explore further: Stem cell patch shows early promise in treating heart failure

More information: Circulation Research (2017). DOI: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.117.310712

Related Stories

Stem cell patch shows early promise in treating heart failure

April 5, 2017
Patching a damaged heart with a patient's own muscle stem cells improves symptoms of heart failure, according to a Phase I clinical trial reported in Journal of the American Heart Association, the Open Access Journal of the ...

Cardiac stem cells from heart disease patients may be harmful

June 15, 2017
Patients with severe and end-stage heart failure have few treatment options available to them apart from transplants and "miraculous" stem cell therapy. But a new Tel Aviv University study finds that stem cell therapy may, ...

Stem cells from umbilical cord blood may help treat eczema

June 7, 2016
A new study suggests that treatment with stem cells from umbilical cord blood might be an effective therapy for patients with moderate-to-severe eczema, or atopic dermatitis.

Novel stem cell approach promising for heart failure

August 3, 2015
(HealthDay)—A new method for delivering stem cells to damaged heart muscle has shown early promise in treating severe heart failure, researchers report online July 27 in Stem Cells Translational Medicine.

Stem cell-sheet transplantation feasible in cardiomyopathy

April 6, 2017
(HealthDay)—Stem cell-sheet transplantation shows promise in the treatment of cardiomyopathy, according to research published online April 5 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Umbilical cord cells outperform bone marrow cells in repairing damaged hearts

November 15, 2012
A study published this month by researchers at the University of Toronto and Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital has shown that cells derived from the umbilical cord, "Human Umbilical Cord PeriVascular Cells" (HUCPVCs), ...

Recommended for you

A nanoparticle inhalant for treating heart disease

January 18, 2018
A team of researchers from Italy and Germany has developed a nanoparticle inhalant for treating people suffering from heart disease. In their paper published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the group describes ...

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery

January 10, 2018
Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model. This clinically relevant approach showed that the patches significantly improved recovery ...

0 comments

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.