Johns Hopkins Medicine doctors have treated the first person in a key phase of a clinical trial where a high dose of the patient's own bone marrow cells was used to treat heart failure after a heart attack.
The dose was directed precisely at the point of dysfunction in the heart in the hope that it will stimulate the body's natural healing process.
The Hopkins patient was the first to receive what is called the CardiAMP therapy as part of the third phase of a trial taking place at 40 medical centers across the country. Once phase three trials show a treatment works well, doctors can apply for approval with the Food and Drug Administration.
BioCardia, Inc., headquartered in San Carlos, CA., developed the therapy and The Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund provided research money. The fund was created by the Maryland General Assembly in 2006 to promote state-funded stem cell research and cures through grants and loans to public and private entities.
"Funding the clinical trial of this cell therapy, which could be the first cardiac cell therapy approved in the United States, is an important step towards treatments," Dan Gincel, executive director of the Maryland Stem Cell Research Fund, said in a statement. "Through our clinical program, we are advancing cures and improving health care in the State of Maryland."
Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. About 610,000 people die from heart disease every year and it accounts for one in every four deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The first patient was treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital by a team led by Peter Johnston, faculty member in the Department of Medicine and Division of Cardiology, and principal investigator of the trial at Johns Hopkins.