Scripps Clinic Begins Stem Cell Study for Heart Disease

Innovative treatment study for chest pain

Physicians at Scripps Clinic are participating in the world’s first study of selected adult stem cell injections in the heart to determine the benefit in treating patients with severe chest pain as a result of end stage, inoperable coronary artery disease. Richard A. Schatz, M.D., co chair and research director of cardiovascular interventions at Scripps Clinic’s Heart, Lung and Vascular Center, will direct the phase I trial at Scripps Clinic.

Unlike research involving embryonic stem cells, which have proven to be controversial, this study uses stem cells from the patient’s own body. Physicians will extract stem cells from a patient’s blood and inject them directly into the heart muscle in the hope of creating new blood vessels to re-supply the heart with oxygen.

A device will be used to allow for the selection of specific adult stem cells before they are injected into the heart. The procedure involves the use of a catheter-based, non-surgical system to inject cells directly into the heart muscle and is relatively non-invasive compared to open heart surgery. Because the procedure uses stem cells from a patient’s own body, rejection is not an issue.

“If successful, this procedure will offer new hope to patients with crippling chest pain who have no other treatment options available to them,” according to Schatz.

The randomized double-blind study, which was initiated at Caritas St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston, will involve 24 patients at three locations throughout the U.S. Scripps Clinic is planning to enroll eight patients in the study.

About Scripps Clinic

Founded in 1924, Scripps Clinic is a multispecialty, outpatient care facility caring for patients at multiple locations throughout San Diego County. Scripps Clinic and its physicians are world-renowned for research-driven care and medical specialty expertise and is an operating unit of Scripps Health, a not-for-profit, community-based health care delivery network that includes more than 2,600 affiliated physicians, five acute-care hospitals, home health care and associated support services. Scripps Health is one of the largest health care organizations in San Diego County, drawing from the expertise of more than 10,000 health care professionals.

For more information about this study, call 1-800-SCRIPPS (1-800-727-4777).

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Lisa Ohmstede

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