Kidney affected after heart surgeryReport shows that any major surgery done on any parts of the body puts great stress on the body’s organs, none more so than the kidneys, and half of patients who suffer kidney damage during surgery die, while others need a lifelong dialysis or kidney transplants. And keeping this in mind researchers at Intermountain Medical Center for the first time have launched a new safety study of an investigational adult stem cell treatment that may repair kidney damage suffered during heart surgery.

According to Dr. Christof Westenfelder, chief medical officer for AlloCure who are organizing this phase 1 safety clinical trial in association with the heart surgeons at IMC says that, this study is the first ever to use adult stem cell therapy in this way, for this condition.

The trial procedure includes, injecting of the stem cells (into three different doses so that the review after ward can help in determining optimal dosing) into the aortas of 15 patients at the end of their open-heart surgeries. The patients selected for this procedure are from age of 65 and older who are suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure or another risk factor for the kidney damage. Then they will be given a special type of harvested cells from the bone marrow of living donor, prepared at University of Utah’s Research Park, using AlloCure’s protocol. These special cells are so prepared that they don’t need any matching with the blood type of the recipient.

These special type of stem cell, a kind of rescue-committee cell moves through the bloodstream unseen by the immune system, stopping when they hear a distress signal from injured organs. Then tell the injured organ - in this case, the kidney - how to repair itself. After the job is done, they die as they have a programmed cell death, leaving behind no residue in the body after about three days.

Till now these cells have been used successfully in two patients with no ill effects. Of whom, one received the therapy back in August, when undergoing by-pass surgery (response of the patient is shown in the first comment). This proves that these cells are “extraordinarily safe,” with a plus point that not only kidney, these cells can also treat other injured organs and cells with the same potential, says Dr. John R. Doty, IMC cardiovascular surgeon and lead investigator for the single-center study.