by Steven Ertelt
July 3, 2007
Minneapolis, MN (LifeNews.com) — Two new studies show the continued benefits of adult stem cell research and how the ethical counterpart to the use of embryonic stem cells can help patients. The new studies show the use of adult stem cells in helping amyloidosis patients and those who suffer from heart disease.
The first study, conducted by scientists at the Minneapolis Heart Institute and reported in the journal Circulation, finds the research helping patients with angina, or pain due to artery blockage.
The results found enhancement of blood flow to the heart and an overall improvement in the quality of life after an injection of purified stem cells.
Nearly nine million Americans suffer from angina and another 400,000 new cases are reported annually. The study was a way to look at patients who had exhausted normal medical treatments.
Douglas W. Losordo, M.D., Director of the Feinberg Cardiovascular Research Institute and Timothy D. Henry, M.D., professor in the Division of Cardiology at the Minneapolis Heart Institute headed the study.
They found the insertion of the adult stem cells helped most of the 24 patients who received them.
Meanwhile, researchers at Boston University Medical Center found that blood stem cell transplantation can help treat patients with immunoglobulin-light chain (AL) Amyloidosis who did not respond to initial treatment.
These findings were published on-line in the June 25th issue of Bone Marrow Transplantation.
AL amyloidosis occurs when clonal plasma cells in bone marrow produce proteins that misfold and deposit in tissues, leading to organ failure and death. Between 1,200 and 3,200 new cases are reported each year in the United States, although researchers believe the disease is highly underdiagnosed.
The researchers enrolled 62 patients on this trial, of whom 17 patients received a second course of high-dose chemotherapy and blood stem cell transplantation who had not received a complete remission from their initial treatment.
Of the 17, five (31 percent) were successfully treated and achieved a complete hematologic remission of their amyloidosis after receiving a second course of treatment.
According to lead researcher, Vaishali Sanchorawala, MD, associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine, this approach increases the proportion of patients who ultimately achieve a complete response to treatment.
“For patients who can tolerate this treatment approach, such treatment appears to result in the highest complete hematologic response rate of any treatment for AL amyloidosis to date,” said Sanchorawala. “In addition, patients showed improvements in both organ function and quality of life."
Although backers of embryonic stem cell research claim the Bush administration has a stem cell research ban in place, this Boston University study was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.