A man from Middleton is the first Wisconsinite to have his heart disease treated with his own stem cells in an attempt to improve his quality of life.
Doctors hope to stimulate the formation of new blood vessels into blood-deprived areas of the heart by injecting adult stem cells harvested from the patient's own bone marrow. The cells are precursor cells to the formation of blood vessels.
"Getting them out of the bone marrow is really the task that's required and then we injected them locally right in the area where there's a deficiency in blood supply. So the goal is to create new blood vessels."
Doctor Amish Raval, MD, is head of cardiovascular regenerative medicine at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health , which is among the first medical centers in the country taking part in the clinical trial. Scientists want to see whether a patient's own stem cells can treat persistent chest pain caused by a form of severe coronary artery disease. Raval says patients, such as 68-year-old Steve Myrah, will have sporadic follow-up checkups for up to a year.
"A week from now, then thereafter three months, and then six months, nine months and then a year. And the follow-up includes a visit, discussing his symptoms, in addition to a 28-day diary where he actually calls in the number of times he has chest pain in a day."
He'll also have a series of scheduled MRIs and nuclear imaging to monitor the benefits of the procedure. Raval says there've been only a couple dozen patients so far in this clinical trial across the nation. The goal is to enroll about 150 patients nationwide, 10 in Wisconsin.
According to the American Heart Association , coronary artery disease is the most common form of heart disease and is the leading cause of death in the United States.