Avoiding Heart Transplants with the Use of Stem Cells

Dr. Ganesh Raveendran in his laboratory

Dr. Ganesh Raveendran, MD, MS, Director, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at the University of Minnesota Medical Center is conducting a clinical study using autologous [the patient’s own] stem cells to treat patients requiring Left-Ventricular Assist Devices (LVADs). The clinical study hopes to create a viable alternative for patients that might otherwise require a complete heart transplant.  According to Dr. Raveendran, “there are only 2,500 heart transplants done annually in this country [USA], whereas more than 100,000 patients are waiting to get heart transplants. So there is a gap between patients who need hearts and the number of patients who can get hearts.” The success of the treatment would eliminate the need for many heart transplants and provide a viable alternative to individuals awaiting a heart transplant [where there is a shortage of hearts].

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First U.S. Stem Cell Clinical Trial for Pediatric Congenital Heart Disease

Baby with Pediatric Congenital Heart Disease
Pediatric Congenital Heart Disease patient

The Mayo Clinic recently announced the first stem cell based clinical trial for treating pediatric congenital heart disease in the US.  The stem cell therapy seeks to treat hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), a rare defect in which the left side of the heart is critically underdeveloped.  The treatment utilizes patient’s own [autologous] stem cells taken from the child’s umbilical cord blood.

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Mayo Clinic Utilizes Autologous Stem Cells to Treat Heart Failure Patients in First Clinical Study to Target the Regeneration of a Failing Organ


Researchers at Mayo Clinic have introduced a new therapy using cardiogenically-instructed stem cells that can improve heart health. This is the first clinical study for the targeted regeneration of a failing organ.  The Mayo Clinic study represents what we believe to be the gold standard in regenerative treatments – utilizing the patient’s own stem cells for the therapy.  As a result of the use of autologous [the patient’s own] stem cells, there were no complications in any of the patients.  Every patient in the stem cell treatment group improved.   “The benefit to patients who received cardiopoietic stem cell therapy was significant,” said Dr. Terzic – the senior author of the study, with improvements in heart pumping function, physical performance (such as walking distance) and overall quality of life.

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FDA Approves Clinical Trial Using Mesenchymal Stem Cells Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

mesenchymal stem cell









Researchers at University of Miami Health System receive FDA approval for the first U.S. clinical trial using mesenchymal stem cells to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Mesenchymal stem cells are multipotent adult stem cells that can be isolated from bone marrow, teeth, and fat.  Mesenchymal stem cells have demonstrated the ability to differentiate into bone, cartilage, cardiomyocites, muscle, neuronal cells, insulin producing pancreatic beta cells and more.

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Stem Cell Treatment for Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration Entering Clinical Trial Phase







A Phase I/II clinical trial to treat dry age-related macular degeneration (Dry-AMD) is being conducted by StemCells, Inc.  Dry-AMD is the most common type of macular degeneration and affects 90% of patients with the condition. It is a chronic eye disease that causes vision loss in the center of the field of vision and is the major cause of blindness and visual impairment in adults older than 50.

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