News | July 24, 2009

World’s First Cardiac Adult Stem Cell Patient Receives Infusion Trial in Louisville

Dr. Mark Slaughter with patient Michael Jones, the first recipient of adult stem cells for myocardial regeneration.

July 24, 2009 – Michael Jones has become the world’s first recipient of adult cardiac stem cells to treat congestive heart failure. Jones’ infusion on July 17 marks the world’s first phase-one, FDA-approved clinical trial using c-kit-positive cardiac stem cells to treat heart disease being conducted by a team of University of Louisville physicians at Jewish Hospital.

During the infusion procedure, Jones was directly injected with his own cardiac stem cells into heart scar tissue using a minimally-invasive cardiac catheterization procedure. The 66-year-old, self-employed man continues to recover following the outpatient procedure.

Mark Slaughter, M.D., chief of the division of cardiothoracic surgery at University of Louisville and director of the Heart Transplant and Mechanical Assist Device Program at Jewish Hospital, performed coronary artery bypass surgery on Jones on March 23. Jones suffered from congestive heart failure due to multiple blocked arteries that had resulted in permanent scarring of his heart muscle. During the procedure, Jones’ cardiac stem cells were retrieved from a portion of his own atrium, the upper chamber of the heart. The tissue was then sent to Piero Anversa, of Harvard University and Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, for processing and to grow cardiac stem cells from Jones’ tissue.

Jones’ infusion procedure was performed at Jewish Hospital by Sohail Ikram, M.D., University of Louisville professor of medicine and director and chief of invasive and interventional cardiology at Jewish Hospital.

“We continue to enroll patients in this first-of-its-kind clinical trial,” said study leader Roberto Bolli, Jewish Hospital Heart and Lung Institute distinguished chair in cardiology and director of University of Louisville’s Institute for Molecular Cardiology. “We hope to help the heart regenerate its own tissue and improve heart function.”

Bolli is collaborating with a number of leaders in the field of cardiovascular and stem cell medicine for this clinical trial. The team will continue to evaluate Jones, as well as other patients who have enrolled in the clinical trial, for heart function and blood flow. In addition, the heart’s overall size and the size of the scar tissue will be measured.

Since this is a phase-one clinical trial designed to test the treatment’s safety and feasibility, all patients enrolled in the trial will receive the cardiac stem cell therapy.

Bolli said a similar stem cell clinical trial is being conducted at another facility in California. "The difference between what we have done and what another institute nationally has done is that we have injected a pure population of stem cells, the c-kit-positive cells. The other institution injected cardiosphere-derived cells, which are a mixture of primitive and partially differentiated cells, complicating the recognition of the actual therapeutic cell. Our study involves a specific, well-characterized population of undifferentiated cells: the c-kit-positive cardiac stem cells are self-renewing, clonogenic and multipotent, which are the fundamental properties of stem cells," Bolli said.

For more information: www.jewishhospital.org

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