Matt Springer, PhD, associate professor of medicine in the UCSF Division of Cardiology and UCSF Cardiovascular Research Institute says a therapy that showed promise in rodents has failed to improve the health in humans. Springer may have the solution.
When the team used rodent bone marrow to treat mice, they used marrow from a young and health donor. In the human studies they used the marrow from the patient. The patients are typically older and in less than perfect health.
“It’s very important to consider the disease, whenever you think about treatments that involve returning cells into the same person from whom they were taken,” Springer said. Springer is also the study’s lead author. “The very disease you’re trying to treat might actually cause a problem for those cells, and that seems to be the case here.”
Heart attacks can be very difficult to treat. Part of the heart muscle dies, Xiaoyin Wang, MD, lead author, and an associate research specialist at the UCSF Cardiovascular Research Institute, explains.
“Mouse experiments use a different donor from the recipient,” Wang tells Digital News Report. “That can be a disadvantage as a model system. We’re taking that and are using it to our advantage.”
The researchers didn’t expect to cure the heart, Springer said. “But if we can use studies like this to figure out why therapies are not as good as they could be, and simply do something like use a drug, or change the cells, that could conceivably be used very soon in a clinical trial”.
From UCSF: “Researchers use bone marrow from young, healthy donor rodents to treat mice that had heart attacks. However in humans, bone marrow cells came from the patients themselves—typically older—after they suffered heart attacks”.
By: Jason Chang