Mesenchymal stem cells(MSCs) have been shown through extensive research to be an abundant source of regenerative properties, and therefore God-sent to the field of regenerative medicine. MSCs are considered a “regenerative biologic agent” rather than a medicinal treatment or “drug,” owing to the unique ability to differentiate into various tissue types and self-renew without further interference. So Stem cells, by definition, are cells that can regenerate themselves and have the ability to differentiate into other cell types. An SVF mixture of cells contains an abundance of MSCs, as well as other growth factors and cytokines and immune support mechanisms. SVF is currently being utilized at point-of-care settings for a variety of applications in regenerative medicine. Owing to the stem cells’ innate ability to restore damaged blood vessel structure and function, researchers are curious as to how the injection of stromal vascular fraction (containing mesenchymal stem cells) directly into the heart muscle of patients suffering from heart disease works in restoring function.
Even with early detection and the excellent range of treatment options available, heart failure is a life-threatening condition. When caused by ischemic cardiomyopathy, a side effect of Coronary Artery Disease, a patient’s heart is no longer strong enough to pump blood to the rest of their bodies. The heart is weakened by a steady narrowing of the blood vessels, which deliver blood and life-giving oxygen to the heart muscle. In the case of dilated cardiomyopathy, the left ventricle (the heart’s primary pumping mechanism) is weakened and enlarged (dilated). Patients with this condition find that their hearts overfill with blood and cannot sufficiently pump enough of it to sustain normal physiological function. This reduced cardiac output, in turn, results in further reduction of coronary artery perfusion, which leads to further weakening of the heart muscle and further heart failure. So owing to tissue death and progressive fibrosis and scarring, the vicious circle perpetuates itself and prevents natural tissue repair. Although innovative drug therapies and surgical interventions have long been used to combat these severe, life-threatening conditions, these therapies have limited longevity and do not always lead to longer life or a return to an active lifestyle. Heart transplantation, which has been an accepted last option for heart disease sufferers, is plagued by a shortage of viable donors and long waiting lists for treatment as well as life-long complications, partly from anti-rejection drugs.
A New & Exciting Therapy Option
Stem cells from patient’s own adipose tissue offer a new and exciting therapy option for patients with ischemic, and possibly other types of cardiomyopathy. SVF is a viable therapeutic option for many patients, as the harvesting process is safe and the cells are easily accessible, abundant, and ready for transplantation with ease. Adipose tissue is becoming the preferred source of SVF due to the high levels of MSCs obtained and the minimally-invasive nature of the procedure itself, as compared to other methods such as bone marrow-derived stem cell therapy, which often requires general anesthesia for procurement and culture of the cells to increase numbers. Transplantation of SVF in animal models of myocardial infarction (heart attack risk model) shows a significant improvement in cardiac function in the affected ventricles and decreased mortality following implantation. Human studies conducted on patients injected with SVF via catheter directly into the heart muscle shows improved ventricular function, reduced scarring, and restoration of the functional systems of the heart itself. Additionally, researchers report that the procedures (adipose extraction and SVF injection) were well tolerated and maintained safety standards, with patients reporting increased exercise capacity, improved quality of life, and no mortality following the procedure. Unpublished data of work on baboon hearts indicates that direct injection of stem cells into an iatrogenic infarction results in restoration of close to normal anatomy and good recovery of the heart muscle over a period of 8-9 months. Even giving SVF, with its abundant stem cells populations, supplies enough stem to the heart muscle, resulting in significant improvement with virtually no risk (encountered in catheter delivery or direct injection) to the patient. Damaged or diseased tissues emit factors that attract stem cells preferentially to the site of mischief.
Chronic heart disease is a progressive, degenerative disorder, and is associated with high rates of mortality even when treated by the currently available conservative (medical) and invasive (e.g. AICD) clinical interventions. The advent of stem cell therapy is promising for cardiac as well as regenerative medicine in general. Adipose-derived stem cells as part of the SVF infusion is a viable candidate to treat this disease. SVF has been shown to promote restoration of damaged tissues as well as blood vessels, muscle fibers, and connective tissues. The ability to restore blood vessels, heart muscle structure (including thickening of muscle walls), and promote faster healing outcomes are the ones in which researchers are most interested. SVF does not require expansion (culturing to increase numbers) and is sufficiently stable to enable bedside collection. The turnaround between extraction and injection is a mere 2-3 hours, which is lower than in other sources of stem cells, and therefore is appropriate for urgent cardiac situations and therapy. These studies demonstrate the safety as well as the feasibility of utilizing SVF for use in the treatment of heart disease. The procedures are well-tolerated, and mortality rates are negligible when compared to those reported in no-option or interventions (including surgery). Additionally, the results of the research point towards the clinical benefit of SVF therapy to prevent or treat existing heart failure in patients with no other viable medical options left, at negligible risk.
Contact Gulf Coast Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Center
At the Gulf Coast Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center, we are actively engaged in research programs, managing a wide range of varied disorders, including ischemic, orthopedic, degenerative, neurological and autoimmune conditions. Our team is highly skilled and committed to the goal of improving the quality of your life. Please feel free to contact us so that we can discuss your individual conditions and needs, as well as suitability for treatment. For more information on the full list of diseases and disorders that we currently address, please call (866) 885-4823. Gulf Coast Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Center is located at 1153 Ocean Springs Rd, Ocean Springs, MS, 39564, but we offer our services throughout the Gulf Coast States, including Alabama, Louisiana, Florida, Texas, as well as throughout the United States.