Heart failure is a condition at which the heart is unable to maintain an adequate circulation required for the metabolic needs of body tissues. The major cause of heart failure is the weakening of ventricular muscle at which it fails to pump blood efficiently from the heart to all parts of the body.
According to a report published at NHS Choices and BBC News in February 2012, scientists have developed the uses of stem cell therapy to heal the damage caused by heart attack. This therapy is still at the trial stage where they examined the safety of treating scars and cardiac tissue damage using stem cells.
Stem Cell Therapy for Heart Failure
This therapy is said to be a promising therapy for heart failure patients as stem cell therapy uses stem cell derived from the patient and thereby it is not at risk of being rejected from the body immune system. Several stem cell therapy researches have been done which include autologous skeletal myoblasts, bone marrow cells and cardiac-derived cells. All 3 types of stem cells used have shown to be able to treat the scars and improve the cardiac performance of the patient.
In a research done by Menasche et al. (2003), autologous skeletal myoblast can be used for myocardial tissue regeneration and can help to treat ischaemic cardiomyopathy. However, researchers have lost interest in skeletal myoblast as a candidate for cell-based therapy due to the increased incidence of ventricular tachyarrhythmias.
According to Kocher et al. (2001), intravenous delivery of bone marrow stem cells can prevent cardiomyocytes apoptosis, reduce ventricular remodeling and improve cardiac functions. This technique has proven to be safe and has a long-term effect in patient with heart failure as bone marrow stem cells have the ability to alter the balance of atherosclerotic plaque stability (Khurana et al., 2005).
The latest stem cell therapy is by using cardiac-derived cells which are found in the layer present on the surface of the heart. The cardiac-derived cells can replaced the lost cardiac cells due to apoptosis and minor injury but could not repair and regenerate tissues in conditions caused by major cardiac injury (Zimmet and Krum, 2008). The usage of cardiac-derived cells are considered as the most potential autologous cell source for cardiac repair as in a research done by Tang et al. (2013), there is a reduction in the size of the scar but has no significant improvement in cardiac functions as measured using left ventricular ejection function (LVEF).
In April 2013, a report published in Express states that researchers from Mayo Clinic treat heart failure patients with a special stem cells harvested from the top of the patient’s hip. Proteins are used to instruct the stem cells to works as heart cells and these are then injected into the patient’s heart. The results show that patients have greater improvement in their health but this technique still requires further investigation to determine why the hip’s stem...