This week, doctors at the Catholic University of Leuven, connected with the University Hospital - Gasthuisberg, the Stem Cell Institute Leuven (SCIL), and the Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology (VIB), are publishing a major breakthrough in the treatment of patients with acute myocardial infarction. Their research shows that the administration of a patient’s own stem cells has a significant positive effect on the heart’s recovery: in the patients studied, the size of the infarct was clearly reduced. The use of stem cells appears to be safe, and to date no side effects have occurred that can be attributed to the stem cells. This study is a world-first - its exciting results are being published in the prominent medical journal The Lancet.
In an acute myocardial infarction, the flow of blood from a blood vessel in the heart is blocked, whereby the cardiac muscle receives insufficient oxygen and heart tissue dies. In many cases, the supply of blood in the deadened portion of the heart can be restored via the so-called balloon technique. But the heart suffers permanent damage, primarily to the left ventricle.
The researchers in Leuven have tested the administration of bone marrow stem cells on patients stricken with acute myocardial infarction. In the 67 patients of the study, the supply of blood in the heart was restored optimally via the balloon technique. Then, within 24 hours, some patients received an injection of stem cells from their own bone marrow and some received an aqueous (placebo) solution (the patients in each group were selected by drawing lots). Such a double-blind, placebo-controlled study has never before been conducted.
Ann Van Gysel | alfa
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