Doctors use stem cells to treat heart failure - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Doctors use stem cells to treat heart failure

MIAMI (NBC) - Doctors at the University of Miami are working on ways to treat heart failure patients using their own stem cells.

Robert Boyce enjoys fishing again after three heart attacks forced him to give it up. Then he joined a study at the University Of Miami Miller School Of Medicine, and in May 2009 had his own stem cells injected into his damaged heart.

"Since the procedure, physically I feel better. I breathe a lot better. I do have a little more stamina than I had," said Robert Boyce a patient.

He is one of eight heart failure patients in a UM trial published in Circulation Research: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Among the findings: all eight patients had a positive response, heart size decreased 15 to 20 percent, scar tissue decreased 18 percent.

"What we really showed definitively is that an area of heart tissue that was previously dead and not contracting started to contract again after the cell injection," said Joshua Hare, MD, UM Stem Cell Research.

The stem cells are derived from the patient's bone marrow, processed in a lab. Then using catheters 10 injections are given in the heart in one procedure.

Hare has now started phase two of the study with 60 patients. Frank Quereau is one of them, and he is happy to have this option.

"I was at the end stages where I had one other choice, heart transplant," Quereau said.

UM is looking for more participants who have ischemic myopathy.

"That condition results from having a heart attack that damages enough of the heart so that the entire heart loses its shape and blows up like a balloon," Hare said.

With the positive results from the first phase with Boyce and the seven other patients, a new stem cell study will begin in July for patients with heart failure unrelated to heart attack.

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