UW Health 1st in US to treat heart disease patient with cell therapy

An 81-year-old man with chronic myocardial ischemia recently became the first patient in the nation to receive an investigative cell therapy for heart disease at Madison, Wis.-based UW Health. 

Chronic myocardial ischemia, or CMI, occurs when blood flow to the heart is restricted, keeping the heart muscle from pumping enough oxygen. Donald Krause, the 81-year-old patient, underwent the investigational therapy as part of a clinical trial after all other therapies failed to stop his symptoms, according to an Oct. 29 news release. 

The investigational CardiAMP cell therapy uses a patient's own bone marrow cells and delivers them to the heart through a catheter-based procedure. Prior to the procedure, patients undergo a screening assay to identify whether they will be likely to respond to the intervention. 

"Patients with CMI are often desperate to find relief after suffering for years with debilitating symptoms, and this therapy, if proven successful during this trial, could become not only the first cell therapy of its kind for heart disease but a real game changer for these patients in particular," said Amish Raval, MD, an interventional cardiologist at UW Health who led the procedure alongside Peiman Hematti, MD, a bone marrow transplantation hematologist and professor of medicine at UW School of Medicine and Public Health. 

Between 600,000 and 1.8 million patients in the U.S. experience treatment-resistant myocardial ischemia, with about 75,000 new cases per year, estimates show. 

The CardiAMP Cell Therapy Chronic Myocardial Ischemia Trial is expected to enroll up to 343 patients across 40 U.S. centers.

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