Stem cell therapy is a novel and promising strategy to replace or repair damaged tissues using stem cells. Stem cells may produce benefits for severe angina sufferers who do not respond to medication, angioplasty or surgery. The therapy involves injection of the patients own stem cells into their heart to create new blood vessels in the diseased heart muscle.
Stem cells are biological, highly pluripotent cells that have an ability to differentiate into any type of cell types or develop into specialized cells for specific organs. These stem cells are present both during embryonic development (embryonic stem cells) and in adult body tissues (adult stem cells).
Various studies have depicted beneficial results of stem cell therapy in treating cardiovascular disorders such as heart failure and angina. Stem cell therapy has shown to improve myocardial oxygen consumption and the volume of the left ventricle of the heart at the end of contraction, as well as reverse changes in perfusion defects in heart failure's patients.
According to a new study, patients who received stem cell injections had significantly fewer chest pain episodes and improved exercise tolerance than patients who got placebo injections. Stem cell therapy in angina patients may induce generation of new blood vessels (revascularization) in the myocardium that may increase the tissue perfusion. This helps in relieving angina pain.
The patient is injected with granulocyte colony stimulating factor in order to increase the number of stem cells present in the blood prior to the collection procedure. The stem cells are then collected from the blood. A catheter is then threaded into the patient's heart to inject the stem cells into the heart muscle identified as receiving insufficient blood. After injection, the stem cells circulate throughout the blood supply, relieving angina symptoms.
Baylor Heart Hospital