"We are encouraged by our findings because they could pave the way to a non-invasive, promising new therapy for a group of patients who face grim odds," said study corresponding author Fernando Figueroa, M.D., professor of medicine at the Universidad de los Andes in Chile.
‘Umbilical cord-derived stem cells are easily accessible, widely available and are unlikely to cause immune complications and free of the ethical concerns for heart failure patients.’
In this trial, 30 patients, ages 18 to 75, with stable heart failure receiving optimal drug therapy underwent intravenous infusions with either umbilical cord-derived stem cells or placebo. The umbilical cords were obtained from full-term human placentas from healthy donors by cesarean section after informed consent
Compared to the placebo treatment, the stem cell therapy:
Heart failure, marked by the heart muscle's inability to pump blood efficiently, affects some 37 million people worldwide. Despite medical advances, half of patients diagnosed with heart failure will die within five years of diagnosis, according to Figueroa. If affirmed in larger studies, these findings could provide a promising new treatment option for a condition that currently has few.