New study reveals potential of stem cell-sheet transplantation in cardiomyopathy

Results of a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association has revealed that stem cell patch transplantation has the potential to be used in the treatment of diseases affecting the heart muscle.

An exciting development, the study is just one of many that are looking to harness the possibility of stem cells and regenerative medicine.

The study and results

Researchers took stem cells harvested from the patient's own thigh, and created a patch that was then transplanted onto the heart. Senior researcher Yoshiki Sawa, MD, PhD, of Osaka University in Japan, lead the procedure. He and the team found 27 patients who were still experiencing  symptoms even after having undergoing conventional treatments for heart failure. The cells that were removed from the thigh were positioned into a sheet, which was the placed onto the affected heart.

Over the next six to 12 months, the treated patients showed signs of improved symptoms. Sawa was inspired by research carried out on animals, which suggests that cells in the sheet last longer than cells found in injections, even though they don’t actually attach to the heart and produce new cells.  Instead, they produce seem to produce cytokines that stimulate the growth of new blood vessels.