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Heart v bone

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Heart v bone Empty Heart v bone

Post by Mr007 on Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:16 pm

The heart is not the only source of potentially useful stem cells. Trials have already taken place using stems cells from bone marrow.

Prof Anthony Mathur, from Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, and Prof John Martin, from University College London, are already conducting large randomised clinical trials.
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“Start Quote

This is positive, but the crucial next steps are to see whether this improvement is confirmed in the final completed trial”

End Quote Prof Peter Weissberg British Heart Foundation

They are investigating the effect of giving patients stem cells from their own bone marrow, in NHS hospitals, within six hours of a heart attack.

Prof Mathur said of the cardiac stem cell study: "Caveats very much apply. It's a phase one trial so while the early results are great and promising, they need to design a big study to see if the results translate."

He also cautioned that improvements in ejection fraction were not the same as increasing survival or quality of life.

Prof Martin said he was "concerned" that the seven patients in the control group showed no improvement in ejection fraction, which would normally be expected, and that they were not given a sham treatment to account for the placebo effect.

He said that was acceptable when just testing a procedure's safety, but not when looking at effectiveness, which relies on the difference between the treated and control groups.

Prof Peter Weissberg, medical director at the British Heart Foundation, argued that the improvement in heart function was similar to those in other studies.

"This is positive, but the crucial next steps are to see whether this improvement is confirmed in the final completed trial, and to understand whether the cells are actually replacing damaged heart cells or are secreting molecules that are helping to heal the heart," he added.

Dr Bolli argues that stem cells from the heart might be more useful as "their natural function is to replace the cells that continuously die in the heart due to wear and tear".

He hopes to start the next phase of clinical trials in 2012.

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