This week, for the first time in humans, a heart failure patient received adult stem cells taken from his own adipose (fat) tissue.

Stem cells were processed and injected directly into the heart muscle with a special catheter. Francisco Fernandez-Avilés, M.D. performed the procedure in Madrid. The Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital is leading the collaborative clinical trial which will involve 30 patients.

The trial site for the study is Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón in Madrid, Spain. Dr. Fernandez-Avilés, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Chief of Cardiology Service at Gregorio Marañón and Dr. Perin, Director of New Interventional Cardiovascular Technology and Director of Stem Cell Center at the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s will serve as co-principal investigators.

A variety of clinical functional and imaging endpoints will be assessed in the study. The outcomes of the study will be evaluated after a six month follow up. The doctors expect to present the six month outcomes of the study in 2008.

The procedure involves removing adult stem cells from adipose tissue just as in a liposuction procedure. The cells are processed with a proprietary process developed by Cytori Therapeutics, Inc. After about one hour of processing, the stem cells are injected directly into damaged but viable areas of the heart muscle through an investigational device called a NOGA catheter. This catheter allows three-dimensional color-coded maps of the mechanical and electrical function of the heart’s left ventricle.

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