July 19, 2011
Stem Cell Therapy Reduces Angina Incidence
Fewer and shorter episodes of heart angina pain from delivering CD34+ stem cells to multiple sites in the heart.
CHICAGO -- New research published online today in Circulation Research found that injections of adult patients' own CD34+ stem cells reduced reports of angina episodes and improved exercise tolerance time in patients with chronic, severe refractory angina (severe chest discomfort that did not respond to other therapeutic options).
The phase II prospective, double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial was conducted at 26 centers in the United States, and is part of a long-term collaboration between researchers at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Baxter International Inc. The objective of the trial was to determine whether delivery of autologous (meaning one's own) CD34+ stem cells directly into multiple targeted sites in the heart might reduce the frequency of angina episodes in patients suffering from chronic severe refractory angina, under the hypothesis that CD34+ stem cells may be involved in the creation of new blood vessels and increase tissue perfusion.
CD34+ cells are thought to be involved in capillary formation. Angina is caused by poor circulation of oxygen and nutrients to the heart.
By a few measures the treated groups did better.
At six months after treatment, patients in the low-dose treatment group reported significantly fewer episodes of angina than patients in the control group (6.8 vs. 10.9 episodes per week), and maintained lower episodes at one year after treatment (6.3 vs. 11 episodes per week). Additionally, the low-dose treatment group was able to exercise (on a treadmill) significantly longer at six months after treatment, as compared with those in the control group (139 seconds vs. 69 seconds, on average). Angina episodes and exercise tolerance rates were also improved in the high-dose treated group at six months and at one year post treatment compared to the control group.
Just growing up one's own stem cells outside of the body to be injected into disease sites can stimulate body repair. This seems like a rather blunt instrument approach even though it works. Treatments that involve creating local chemical signals to bring stem cells and other cells to a site to do repair will also some day accomplish the same outcome without the need for growing cells outside the body. But if stem cell therapies are easy to get going now then it makes sense to work on them first.
I recently spoke to a former researcher.
He blamed most impediments to stem cell progress on religious groups.
Also, worth noting is the strangely unbalanced attack on stem cell therapies in a recent CBS "60 Minutes" show.
Some comments on this hit piece are on a stem cell website;
"The Shame of CBS 60 Minutes. No stem cells?"
Religious group have not been an obstacle for years, since it's now possible to convert skin and other cells into various stem cells.
If you doubt there are many religious opponents of stem cell science, google the string: 'religion "stem cells" opposition'
The versatility of various stem cell types is still ambiguous - Lots of recent references are available online.
Lou, barring extreme groups the vast majority of religious opposition to stem cell science is limited to embryonic stem cell research and specifically to the creation of embryos for stem cell harvesting.
It is noteworthy (and only honest) to acknowledge that this opposition has only manifested itself as a prohibition on government funding such research. There has never been any outright ban of such research, and a great deal of it has been and continues to be done by privately funded groups.
It is also noteworthy (and only honest) to acknowledge that despite the breathless promises of the wonders of embryonic stem cells, every single usable and truly promising theraputic use of stem cells I remember ever hearing of uses adult stem cells, often harvested from the patient.
It is not so much religious groups as it is the FDA and drug companies. The problem with stem cells is that they don't make the drug companies any money. If disease, especially chronic disease, can be treated or cured by something that isn't a drug, the drug companies lose huge streams of income. The FDA has a vested interest in the success of the drug companies and in order to protect them has seized control of adult stem cells calling them a drug in order to protect drug companies. Ever wonder why drugs like fen phen and vioxx get on the market with all their problems? The FDA is supposed to protect us from dangerous drugs, at which they fail. Meanwhile a treatment, that has been in use in at least one form (bone marrow transplant), for over 30 years, with over 4,000 studies to back it gets put on hold by the FDA. One of the main groups that opposes adult stem cell treatments, the ISSCR, is run by researchers who have sold patents to drug companies. Makes ya think.
If my stem cells are a drug, does that mean I am addicted to myself? Tiger blood!