Latest Entry: American Pravda and New York's Sixth Crime Family     Latest Comments: Talk Back Here

« An Islamic guide on how to beat your wife | Main | Congratulations Chief Justice John Roberts »

September 29, 2005

Stem Cell Therapy Successfully Treats Heart Failure Patient

Topics: Stem Cells

A Pennsylvania woman with heart failure has significantly improved after undergoing a stem cell treatment in Thailand called "VesCell™". According to a company press release, testing at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has confirmed the patient's improvement.

Jeannine Lewis suffered from non-ischemic cardiomyopathy. She was in Class III-IV heart failure (the borderline of needing a heart transplant) and on maximal oral medical therapy. Her preoperative echocardiogram showed an Ejection Fraction (EF) of 25-30 percent. After three months, MRI results show that her EF has improved to 41 percent and doctors have reclassified her to Class I heart failure - a significant improvement. Her shortening fraction and stroke volume have also increased.

In May, TheraVitae, the maker of VesCell, announced ("US Heart Patients Being Treated with Adult Stem Cells in Thailand") that Lewis would become the first patient in the world to receive VesCell therapy using minimally invasive, direct cell injections to the heart. The procedure was pioneered by Amit Patel M.D., Director of Cardiac Stem Cell Therapies at The McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). Dr. Patel accompanied Lewis to Bangkok in order to oversee her procedure.

Post-treatment, Lewis was in less pain and her exercise tolerance had increased greatly, "within weeks, my symptoms had greatly decreased while my energy level simultaneously increased. I am now able to clean my house, do my shopping and actively care for and play with my young child." Lewis said. The recent quantitative test results now confirm what Lewis seems to have known from the beginning.

We've covered Theravitae in the past and corresponded with their representatives, noting that the company's treatment using adult stem cells avoids the ethical problems associated with embryonic stem cell research. Robert Clark, TheraVitae's Chairman, commented, "Our message is that, unlike the cell cloning technique announced in South Korea ..., which has serious moral and ethical implications, and will probably take years to develop into a viable therapy, our technique is helping patients today."

The VeCell blog notes that Lewis is now a company employess:

Jeannine Lewis just got her three month check-up at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Jeannine received VesCell therapy in Bangkok in May 2005 via the direct injection technique pioneered by Dr. Amit Patel. Jeannine's rapid improvement in quality of life allowed her to return to work. So we hired her as a spokeswoman!
TheraVitae founder Don Margolis commented that Lewis' results do not seem anomalous given the past results Dr. Patel saw in his own clinical trials (presented at the 41st Annual Meeting of the Society for Thoracic Surgery in Tampa, Florida, in January 2005). "We are optimistic that when this treatment becomes widespread, Jeannine's amazing results will be the norm.""

Envisioning VesCell therapy as a standard procedure for heart failure patients, Mr. Margolis enthused, "we hope to someday see a world where people will go from the transplant list back to normal lives."


Posted by tim at September 29, 2005 4:36 PM

Articles Related to Stem Cells: