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discoveries magazine

Stem Cells Enlisted

Military veterans will be among the first patients to receive an investigational therapy that deploys stem cells sourced from the heart itself. This is part of a U.S. Department of Defense-funded clinical trial led by Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute investigators to study a common but difficult-to-treat form of heart failure.

The work builds on the results of a Heart Institute study published last year involving a condition called heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. The disorder causes the heart muscle to become so stiff that its pumping chambers cannot fill properly with blood. It can lead to fluid congestion and is particularly common in women and patients who also have diabetes, obesity, or hypertension. The grant also calls for Cedars-Sinai researchers to continue investigating how and why heart stem cells are effective in treating laboratory rats with the condition.

The clinical trial will take place at two South Carolina sites: the Ralph H. Johnson Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the Medical University of South Carolina.