Adult Bone Marrow Stem Cells Treat Heart Failure in an Infant

Doctors in Germany have reported improvement in the cardiac function of a 2-year-old child who was critically ill with severe heart failure caused by dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), and who improved after receiving autologous adult stem cell therapy.

Led by Dr. Stefan Rupp of the Pediatric Heart Center at Justus-Liebig University in Giessen, Germany, the team of physicians conducted an intercoronary administration of autologous adult progenitor cells derived from the infant’s own bone marrow. As described in their article, “DCM is the most common cardiomyopathy in childhood. Effectiveness of anticongestive therapy is limited in most cases and about one-third of children diagnosed with DCM die or receive heart transplantation within the first year after diagnosis.”

This case documents the first instance of an autologous adult stem cell treatment administered to a patient this young, whose condition was progressively worsening despite maximal anticongestive therapy prior to receiving the autologous adult stem cells, and who has consequently shown measurable improvement as a result of the autologous adult stem cells.

As the authors conclude, “Cardiac stem cell therapy proved to be technically feasible, was associated with improvement in cardiac function, and might represent an option before heart transplantation in children with severe heart failure.”

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