Heart failure trial is “ The Biggest Breakthrough Since Transplants”
Stem cell research has come a long way in recent years offering the possibility of new treatments for a wide range of chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes and spinal injuries.
Now, a trial taking place later this year will bring us closer to reversing heart disease by repairing damaged heart muscles.
The method, using stem cells to repair damaged tissue has been called the “biggest breakthrough since transplants”.
Hope for millions
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the UK & the US, and currently affects more than 2 million people in the UK.
Heart disease and heart attacks cause scarring which can increase the risk of further heart attacks.
A long term trial has shown the ability to reverse heart damage using engineered stem cells known as ‘Heartcel’ created by regenerative medicine company, Celixir, co-founded by Ajan Reginald.
The data collected over 5 years showed an average 40% reduction in heart damage. This is the first time that a study has shown heart scarring to be reversible.
If the research continues to progress positively, it could lead to a long term treatment for heart failure within the next 5 years. Currently a transplant is the only option for patient with end stage heart disease, but this comes with considerable risk, and relies on a donor.
Professor Westaby, from the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, who has been working on the technique for more than a decade, said:
“I am very excited at the prospect of a trial which will hopefully lead to the availability of this stem cell treatment to thousands of patients annually in the UK.
This would be the biggest breakthrough since the first transplants three decades ago.”
This success story has paved the way for European and US regulators to agree to global trials involving 500 patients. Trials of more than 100 patients at two London hospitals are set to begin this autumn. .