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Trial on Stem Cell Transplantation during Cardiac Bypass Surgery Gets Its First Participant

In a trial devoted to treating heart failure in the U.S, the researchers from three research centers will deliver stem cells during cardiac bypass surgery in order to investigate their ability to form new blood vessels and improve heart functions. Then the results will be compared to the bypass surgery without stem cell injections.

In the trial, the researchers give to a number of randomly selected patients autologous—their own—stem cells. Stem cells are harvested from the patients’ bone marrow. This is carried out in the operating room before bypass surgery. The cells are gathered, and then the operation starts.

Meanwhile, the stem cells are separated from the bone marrow. The stem cells processing technology, developed by Harvest Technologies, allows sorting stem cells quickly which enables joining all the procedures into a single operation. The operation is completed with stem cell injection in randomly selected participants. The trial is single-blind, meaning that the participants will know if they received stem cells only after the study results are released.

The study will enroll up to 42 individuals nationwide. They must be in need for cardiac bypass surgery. The first individual underwent the surgery at Methodist DeBakey Heart & Vascular Center last week. It was a 59-year-old man from Houston with severe heart failure.

If the procedure works better compared to the bypass surgery alone, the need for heart transplantation or implantation of mechanical circulatory device in the heart patients may be decreased.