from research organizations
Researchers have previously assessed the potential of bone marrow-derived stem cells as treatment; however, intravenous umbilical cord-derived stem cells have never been evaluated. The latter type has been particularly appealing because they are easily accessible, widely available, unlikely to cause immune complications and free of the ethical concerns that surround embryonic stem cells, the researchers noted.
"Standard drug-based regimens can be suboptimal in controlling heart failure, and patients often have to progress to more invasive therapies such as mechanical ventricular assist devices and heart transplantation," said lead study author Jorge Bartolucci M.D., a cardiologist from Cells for Cells and professor at the Universidad de los Andes.
Heart failure, marked by the heart muscle's inability to pump blood efficiently, affects some 37 million people worldwide. Despite medical advances, half of patients diagnosed with heart failure will die within five years of diagnosis, according to Figueroa. If affirmed in larger studies, these findings could provide a promising new treatment option for a condition that currently has few.