Stem cell trial to treat chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy

18th November 2016

Cardiologists in America have begun early trials of using stem cells to treat chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy.

The team, at the University of Florida, have begun Phase 1 trials of injecting mesenchymal cells (adult stem cells taken from bone marrow) into the hearts of patients with dilated cardiomyopathy caused by the cancer drug anthracycline.  It is hoped the stem cells will stimulate regeneration or repair of their hearts’ damaged tissues.

The doctors have recently treated their first patient, a breast cancer survivor who developed heart failure after treatment with the common chemotherapy drug.

Researcher Dr Carol Pepine said that around four per cent of cancer patients given anthracycline develop heart failure.

Anthracyclines have been used for more than forty years to treat patients with breast cancers, lymphomas, leukaemia and sarcomas.

“We hope the cells will cause the heart tissue to regenerate and repair itself by attracting other ‘repair cells,”  fellow researcher Dr Anita Szady told Life Science Daily.

The team said their first patient’s heart function was limited and her options limited. She will be monitored closely over the next year.

In Phase 1 trials, researchers test drugs on a small group of people to check their safety, determine  safe dosages and identify side effects.

The trial is being sponsored by the country’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

For more details, see here