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Post-heart-attack cellular therapy: expectations unfulfilled
Following a major heart attack, patients’ risk of developing a persistent weakening of the heart muscle (i.e. cardiac insufficiency) remains just as high as it was – despite cellular therapy. Based on a trial entitled BOOST (‘Bone marrow transfer to enhance ST-elevation infarct regeneration’), successfully completed in 2004, researchers at Hannover Medical School (MHH) have now published the findings of the follow-up study, BOOST 2, in the renowned European Heart Journal. In both trials, the physicians treated patients with these individuals’ own bone marrow cells during the first week after a major heart attack. These cells were infused into the reopened coronary artery and thus directly into the infarcted region. It was hoped that the cells would locally release growth factors that enhance the healing process. However, “in contrast to the first BOOST study, we did not observe any significant improvement in heart function during the BOOST 2 trial,” reports principal investigator Professor Kai Wollert of MHH’s Department of Cardiology and Angiology. “We would now no longer recommend such therapy in this form.“
- Download the press release (in German):