One’s Own Stem Cells May Be Key to Treating Angina

The largest national stem cell study for heart disease showed the first evidence that transplanting a potent form of adult stem cells into the heart muscle of subjects with severe angina results in less pain and an improved ability to walk. The transplant subjects also experienced fewer deaths than those who didn’t receive stem cells

Out of the estimated 1 million people in the U.S. who suffer from chronic, severe angina which is chest pain due to blocked arteries, about 300,000 cannot be helped by any traditional medical treatment such as angioplasty, bypass surgery or stents.

“This is the first study to show significant benefit in pain reduction and improved exercise capacity in this population with very advanced heart disease,” said principal investigator Douglas Losordo, M.D., the Eileen M. Foell Professor of Heart Research at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a cardiologist and director of the program in cardiovascular regenerative medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the lead site of the study.