An international first at the CHUM - Promising treatment in regeneration of the myocardium through the use of stem cells

    MONTREAL, Dec. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - The Centre hospitalier de l'Université
de Montréal (CHUM) announces the beginning of a phase II randomized
double-blind trial with the potential of providing a therapeutic alternative
after a first acute myocardial infarction. One patient has already undergone
this technique, which consists of implanting immature stem cells from the bone
marrow to regenerate heart muscle. The procedure went smoothly and the patient
is doing well. This worldwide first, conducted in collaboration with Hôpital
Maisonneuve-Rosemont (Montréal, Canada) follows in the footsteps of successful
phase I clinical trials carried out in Europe. To date, these preliminary
studies have revealed no complications in the subjects treated, after five
years of follow-up. These encouraging findings confirm the results of many
preliminary experiments carried out on animal models.

    Some facts

    - Did you know that cardiovascular disease is the primary cause of death
      in Western countries?
    - Did you know that one hospital bed in five is occupied by someone
      suffering from heart disease?
    - Did you know that myocardial infarction (heart attack), the most
      frequent cause of heart failure, affects over 250,000 patients in

    "Drug treatment and heart transplant are among the various techniques
that can improve heart function. But because the paucity of organs available
remains a major problem, CHUM researchers have worked together to set up this
innovative research protocol," states Dr. Samer Mansour, cardiologist at the
CHUM, and principal investigator for the trial. One of the aims of this trial
is to understand the effect of immature stem cells (CD133+), extracted from
the patient's bone marrow in the iliac crest, on the healing process of the
heart after a first heart attack. The experiment protocol involves
intracoronary injection of CD133+ cells against placebo, in addition to
standard medical treatment. The entire process takes place during the same
period of hospitalization.
    "The study of cell therapy in the case of myocardial lesions is
relatively recent and we still have a great deal to learn in this trial," adds
Dr Guy Leclerc, head of the CHUM's cardiology service. "Previous studies have
demonstrated significant improvement of 7 to 10 % in heart function after
implanting several types of bone marrow stem cells. In this trial, we will
study these immature cells using the most advanced technologies and
state-of-the-art imaging techniques to prepare and transplant these cells into
the patient."
    Bone marrow cells extracted at the CHUM are transferred to the
Laboratoire de thérapie cellulaire at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont (HMR) to
isolate the most immature stem cells. According to Dr. Denis-Claude Roy,
director of the hospital's research centre, "The fact that the stem cells that
have been isolated are immature should improve their capacity to repair the
heart muscle."
    This clinical trial is one of a body of research projects in regenerative
medicine and cell therapy currently being carried out at the CHUM. In these
studies, Dr. Mansour and Dr. Nicolas Noiseux, co-investigator for the trial
and cardiac surgeon, are attempting to better characterize the mechanisms
behind the beneficial effects of stem cells used for the treatment of
cardiovascular diseases.

    Anticipated impact of the procedure

    Currently, this procedure applies to patients who have suffered a first
extensive infarction and are at risk for complications such as heart failure.
The target population could be broadened once the technique has been further
refined and the laboratory protocols perfected. The ultimate goal of this
minimally invasive and inexpensive technique, compared to heart transplant, is
for it to become more commonly performed in hospitals, in the medium term.
    The research team includes the following investigators: Drs. Samer
Mansour, Denis-Claude Roy, hematologist (HMR), Guy Leclerc, Nicolas Noiseux,
cardiac surgeon, and François Reeves, cardiologist (CHUM). Stem cell
preparation is carried out at the cell therapy laboratory of HMR under the
supervision of Dr Roy. "The contribution of HMR is another good example of
complementarity and cooperation in research between the institutions of the
RUIS de l'Université de Montréal (UdeM)," states Dr. Denis R. Roy, Director
General of the CHUM and president of the UdeM RUIS.
    This research protocol was made possible through the collaboration of the
Laboratoire de thérapie cellulaire of the Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont,
Miltenyi Biotec, the CHUM Research Centre, its radiology and nuclear medicine
departments and its cardiology service, notably through its interventional
hemodynamics development fund. Health Canada, Fonds de la recherche en santé
du Québec, and Boston Scientific also contributed to the trial.

    About the CHUM

    For documents on the protocol and the intervention, please visit the CHUM

For further information:

For further information: Nathalie Forgue, Communications Advisor,
Communications Department, Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal
(CHUM), (514) 890-8000, extension 14342, Pager: (514) 860-7110; For
information on the research procotol: Carole Lemay, or Renée Duclos, research
nurses, (514) 890-8000, ext. 14803; Sources: Samer Mansour, M.D.,
Cardiologist, Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM); Nicole
Beaulieu, M.A., ARP, Director of Communications, Centre hospitalier de
l'Université de Montréal (CHUM)

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Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM)

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