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Infusion of Umbilical Cord Stem Cells Safe, Effective in HFrEF

Improvement in left ventricular ejection fraction, NYHA function class, QOL with UC-MSC infusion

heart illustration

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 27, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Intravenous infusion of umbilical cord-derived mesenchymal stem cells (UC-MSCs) is safe and efficacious for patients with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), according to a study published online Sept. 26 in Circulation Research.

Jorge Bartolucci, M.D., from the Universidad de los Andes in Chile, and colleagues randomized HFrEF patients under optimal medical treatment to intravenous infusion of allogeneic UC-MSCs or placebo (15 in each group) to assess the safety and efficacy of the infusion of UC-MSCs.

The researchers found that, compared with bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells, UC-MSCs in vitro displayed a 55-fold increase in the expression of hepatocyte growth factor. No adverse events related to cell infusion were seen in UC-MSC treated patients; at 0, 15, and 90 days, none of the seven patients tested presented alloantibodies to the UC-MSCs. The UC-MSC group exhibited significant improvements in left ventricular ejection fraction at three, six, and 12 months of follow-up. From baseline to month 12 there was a significant difference between the groups in echocardiographic left ventricular ejection fraction. Furthermore, at all follow-up time points, there were improvements in New York Heart Association functional class and in Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire in UC-MSC-treated patients.

"Improvements in left ventricular function, functional status, and quality of life were observed in patients treated with UC-MSCs," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biotechnology industry.

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