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Cardiovascular Pulmonary

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) & Stem Cell Therapy

Written by Michael Pasquale January 30, 2020

In Hawaii several years ago many of us recall Don Ho, one of our own flew overseas to attempt to receive help with with cardiomyopathy. He was referred to a Thailand clinic as a last resort where the stem cells were taken from his blood and then re injected into his heart muscle. This illustrates well the trial and tribulations of CHF patients with cardiac myopathy. Many cases have little hope short of a heart transplant for which they may not be a candidate. This affects about 1 million people a year who are not a candidate for other procedures and many times stem cell therapy is a treatment of last resort such as in Mr. Ho’s case.

Important research for stem cells in cardiomyopathy

We at Hawaii Stem Cell Treatment Center are very interested in the research progress of cellular based therapy for such cardiac conditions. The use of stem cells to regrow cardiac muscle cells is quite interesting and we will learn more as research trials continue. When the heart muscle becomes weak after heart attack or cardiac ischemic episodes, the loss of the ability of the heart to pump can be profound. Newer drugs help and may offer temporary solutions. Like the Thailand clinic and its Israel based company, regeneration of these cells and their function show great promise. They used bone marrow based derived stem cells and these are engineered (grown) cells. Recently adipose (fat) derived mesechymal stem cells are moving to the forefront. We at the Hawaii Stem Cell Treatment center use the adipose based mesenchymal stem cells.

There is data supporting the use of engineered biology such as selected cell populations for organic scaffolds, and modified (differentiated or de-differentiated) stem cells to regenerate damaged myocardium in generating these cells. We simply do not know if the cost of this method justifies the benefit over adipose derived stem cells and as of this writing the jury is still out. The results of clinical trials of the use of adult mesenchymal stem cells to treat cardiac disease have demonstrated safety and most have shown positive clinical results.

Which method is best

Mesenchymal stem cells have been deployed intravenously, injected directly into the myocardium ( heart muscle), and placed in the coronary arteries and it is unclear if one delivery method is clearly superior to another. It is also unclear which source of mesenchymal cells is optimal for cardiac regeneration, but adipose derived cells appear to be highly effective in this area.

Our network has a protocol for deriving adipose based stem cells , we extract in the stromal vascular fraction (SVF) then injecting that into the myocardium as well as IV administration. This protocol is under the direction of a cardiac specialist. This is done as an outpatient procedure and only takes a few hours.