Stem cells from placenta show promise for treating heart failure

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Stem cells collected from placenta show promise as a treatment for heart failure. Found in the latest issue of Stem Cells Translational Medicine, a new study using mice determined that human-derived adherent cells (PDAC cells) significantly improved cardiac function when injected into the heart muscle.

Cell therapies for cardiac repair have generated considerable interest in recent years. While earlier studies using autologous bone marrow transplantation helped improve cardiac function after myocardial infarction, more recent studies showed no benefit in the early stages after such an event. This has led researchers to question whether mesenchymal stem cells from sources other than bone marrow, such as cord blood and placenta tissue, might yield better results.

An international team co-led by Patrick CH Hsieh of Taiwan’s Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taipei, and Uri Herzberg of Celgene Cellular Therapeutics, Warren, New Jersey, USA, recently undertook a study to test the therapeutic effects of PDA-001, an intravenous formulation of PDAC cells, in mice. The researchers were also testing the best way to deliver the therapy.

“Three weeks after chronic heart failure was induced in the animals they were treated with the stem cells by either direct intramyocardial or intravenous injection,” Hsieh said. “The results showed that the intramyocardial injections significantly improved the left ventricle systolic and diastolic functions compared with injection of vehicle or IV injection of PDA-001.

“The intramyocardial injections also decreased cardiac fibrosis in the vicinity of the injection sites. We repeatedly observed improvement of cardiac function in the injected sites following IM PDA-001 treatment,” Herzberg added. “Based on these results, we want to continue our investigations to optimise the effect through controlling the dose, timing and delivery.”

“In this animal model of progressive heart injury, stem cells isolated from placenta showed promise as an off-the-shelf therapy for cardiac repair, warranting the need for testing in additional models,” said Anthony Atala, editor-in-chief of Stem Cells Translational Medicine and director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine.