Stem Cell Development Has Revolutionised Heart Failure Treatment
A new treatment using MSC stem cells can work in hours and is claimed to be of benefit for hundreds of thousands of patients suffering heart failure.
Within the United Kingdom, heart failure currently affects about 900,000 people. It is caused as a result of the heart being unable to pump an adequate amount of blood around the body, at the right pressure, as it has weakened or become too stiff to work properly.
It may be a result of high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, an abnormal rhythm or weak heart muscles.
Heart failure can cause breathlessness, extreme tiredness and eventually death. It is a long-term condition for a lot of people, which cannot be cured and can only be managed with medication like beta-blockers. In extremely serious cases a heart transplant may be required.
Denise Williams, 61 was in a desperate state, with a heart condition that meant she had a limited amount of days left and as a sole-carer for her brain-damaged teenage son, Alex, she didn’t know what to do.
Before the stem cell treatment, Denise had been told she only had 33% chance of making through the year and it was suggested she should begin making arrangements for her own funeral and arrangements for someone to care for Alex.
Before treatment, Denise only had around 10-20% of her hearts working capacity, she was running out of options. After seeing a medical trial for people suffering from heart failure, she applied for the stem cell treatment at St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London.
In the following month after the treatment, her heart began working within normal limits.
“(It) is nothing short of a miracle” she told ‘The Daily Mirror’.
After spending days in bed prior to treatment, following the stem cell therapy it has meant Denise now has energy, with a new outlook on life.Today, she has no need for medication and the treatment took effect in a matter of minutes.
“There are virtually no drugs involved, and you’re ‘done’ within a few hours,” she says. “If what has happened to me can happen to the countless thousands of others out there with heart and other health problems, it would be amazing.”
This treatment uses bone marrow stem cell, taken from a patient’s pelvis and then injected into the patient’s heart.
Currently, only 150 people have been able to access this treatment, which currently has 80% positive response. People who react positively to the treatment have an improved heart rate function and do not have to use medication following treatment.
This trial has meant now, doctors hope the stem cell treatment could save and lives of people living with heart failure.
Professor Anthony Mathur, the senior cardiologist leading the programme, says results so far are “impressive”.
In the past 10 years at St Bartholomew’s, there have been more than 400 volunteers for the trial, he says:” To achieve long-lasting, potentially life-saving health benefits with no need for additional medication is revolutionary and could save the NHS millions of pounds.”
These trials were made possible thanks to funding the Heart Cells Foundation charity who hope the procedure could become widely available on the NHS.
Following this, the charity has now started a Compassionate Treatment Programme, offering stem cell therapy to people with heart disease. Treating one person per week.
This charity was set up by Jenifer Rosenberg and her husband Ian, after Ian became seriously ill with a heart condition and was given weeks to live.
Ian received life-saving stem cell treatment in Germany. Although, Ian has now passed away, Jenifer continues to run the charity.
Denise was one of the initial people to be helped by this stem cell therapy.
Denise said now; “I can walk upstairs without losing my breath,”
“I have the energy to be there for Alex and, despite being told I was going to die, the opposite is true – I’m getting better every day. Even my cardiologist says it’s impossible, but the treatment has given me hope where before there was only despair.
“I live in hope that one day stem cells may be used to help my son and the many thousands like him who have had catastrophic brain damage.”
To ensure trials are fair, one in three patients were given a placebo drug, one in three were given serum injections, (which professionals hoped would encourage stem cells to travel from the bone marrow to the heart) and the last were given the real stem cell treatment.
Protect Their Future Health
We believe the best stem cells to use in emerging treatments will be the patient’s own stem cells as this doesn’t require a search for a suitable donor and in turn, eliminates chances of the transplanted cells being rejected.