Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Stem cell therapy for heart attack

We are rolling out our 2011 Annual Report stories throughout March. The full report will be posted online and available for download later this month.

Each year in our Annual Report we highlight some of the patients and scientists who came to speak to our governing board about the search for cures. This year one of our stories focuses on research by Eduardo Marbán, who is leading a CIRM disease team developing a therapy to help repair damage after a heart attack.

Marbán spoke to our governing board about a clinical trial using the patient’s own heart cells to repair the damaged heart. This trial is the precursor to the next generation research being funded by CIRM, which uses heart cells from a donor heart. (We blogged about his Dec. 8 talk here.)

Marbán brought with him Frank Lesikar, who had participated in Marban’s clinical trial after a heart attack had damaged his heart. From the annual report story:
I'm in better shape than I've been in in years," he says. Some months after his attack, he enrolled in a clinical trial, in which researchers harvested a bit of tissue from his heart, coaxed stem cells from the tissue to grow, and put the cells back into his heart again. The results? Lesikar’s heart is functioning better and the scar left from his heart attack appears to be reduced.

The study that helped Lesikar is one that led up to a $5 million disease team award from CIRM to fund the next generation therapy.
Read more about Lesikar’s story and about Marbán’s research in the annual report story posted online. This is the seventh annual report story we’ve posted. Here are the others:
The full report will be available for download later this month.




    “Bi-Stem Cell” describes a stem cell researcher who goes both ways (Adult and Embryonic). The Vatican asked two “bi-stem cell” speakers to only speak about Adult stem cells at their conference. Can science and religion peacefully co-exist? Was this a Vatican PR black eye? Read more here: http://bit.ly/bi-stemcell

    1. Science needs to do its thing and religion needs to stay out of the way and to do its thing. Religion's area of expertise is not science even though they try to run the show, they have time in and time out been wrong. For example, if we left it up to religion, the planet would have 50 trillion people, because in their view, every sperm is sacred. If its one thing we humans do well, its replicating ourselves too well.

  2. We can only imagine how well the gern trial would have went...sad. Hope they get more aggressive with this.

    Neuralstem ALS Stem Cell Trial Interim Results Reported in the Journal, STEM CELLS

    ROCKVILLE, Md., March 28, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Neuralstem, Inc. CUR +2.86% announced that safety results from the first 12 patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease) to receive its stem cells were reported online in the peer-reviewed publication, STEM CELLS, on March 13th. "Lumbar Intraspinal Injection of Neural Stem Cells in Patients with ALS: Results of a Phase I Trial in 12 Patients" ( http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22415942.1 ) reports that one patient has shown improvement in his clinical status, even though researchers caution that the study was not designed to show efficacy. Additionally, there was no evidence of accelerated disease progression due to the intervention in any of the 12 patients, who were followed from 6-18 months after they were transplanted with the cells. All of the patients, who received transplants in the lumbar (lower back) region, tolerated the treatment without any long-term complications related to either the surgery or the cells.

    Based on a positive safety assessment, the trial has now been approved by the FDA to progress to transplanting ALS patients in the cervical (upper back) region of the spine, where the goal is to protect the motor neurons which affect respiratory function, and possibly prolong life.

    "For these first 12 patients, we have met the objective of the Phase I trial, demonstrating safety for both the procedure of intraspinal injection and the presence of the neural stem cells in the spinal cords of ALS patients," said Jonathan Glass, MD, lead author of the publication. "We are encouraged by these results and have now advanced our trial to injections into the cervical spinal cord, targeting the motor neurons that control respiratory function." Dr. Glass is Professor of Neurology and Pathology at Emory University School of Medicine, as well as the Director of the Emory ALS Center.