July 8, 2009 – Bioheart Inc. said this week a panel discussion on myoblast (muscle stem cell) therapy between distinguished physicians gave the technology a big endorsement.
After reviewing supporting preclinical data dating back to 1988 and from controlled studies that began in early 2000, a panel of experts strongly endorsed moving forward to complete the final phase of clinical trials (MARVEL) to advance muscle stem cell (myoblast) therapy for treating heart failure to mainstream use with FDA approval and CMS reimbursement. The MARVEL II program aims to streamline both screening and follow-up to facilitate enrollment and to enhance safety monitoring.
Dr. Carl Pepine, M.D., professor of medicine, University of Florida College of Medicine, discussed the difficulties of stem cell therapy in scar tissue. "Cells of the myoblast variety seem to be able to overcome this barrier... and this is what's so exciting about the myoblast trials that Bioheart has proposed,” he said. “We are very encouraged and would like very much to continue these trials."
Research by these experts and others has shown myoblasts may have an advantage over other cell types in treating heart failure. Myoblasts can survive in low oxygen environments and are committed to becoming muscle. They are also the only progenitor cells in the human body that can normally develop the ability to contract. This makes them more likely to restore contractile function of the damaged heart, the company said.
For more information: www.bioheartinc.com