March 27, 2007
Once again, doctors are seeing promise of stem cell treatments, this time with a new therapy to treat patients with heart failure. And once again, the stem cells used are adult stem cells:
In two studies reported at the American College of Cardiology conference, scientists used adult stem cells — not the more controversial embryonic stem cells — to treat patients and saw marked improvement in their health. Experts note these early studies need to be replicated in larger groups to confirm the results.
The findings are welcome news for patients like Joseph Glasser, 74, who received a bleak prognosis nine years ago after suffering a heart attack that left his heart so weakened he had to have a pacemaker implanted. Seventy-five percent of his heart muscle had died, his cardiologist told him, and there was nothing more he could do.
In the years afterward, Glasser frequently felt fatigued and short of breath, so he sought out new treatment options and eventually enrolled in a stem cell study at the University of California San Diego. There, doctors took cells from his leg, cultivated them in a lab and then injected them into his heart.
Today, two years after treatment, he says he no longer has problems maintaining energy, and even walks on a treadmill and swims.
If this treatment proves conclusive, it will be one of many successful treatments with adult stem cells. How many successful treatment with embryonic stem cells? Well, just take a look at the score.