CardioCell begins 2 heart stem cell trials

CardioCell has begun two new clinical trials of its stem cell treatment for recent heart attack patients, the San Diego company said Wednesday.

A Phase 3 trial has started in Kazakhstan and a Phase 2a trial in the United States, said privately held CardioCell. The stem cells are grown under low oxygen conditions, similar to the natural environment of stem cells in the body, said cardiologist Stephen Epstein, a scientific advisor.

Stem cells grown under higher levels of oxygen common in laboratory environments act differently than those grown in low oxygen levels, which may reduce their regenerative abilities, said Epstein, director of translational and vascular biology research at MedStar Heart Institute in Washington, D.C. Moreover, these cells tolerate ischemia, a reduced blood supply that limits the availability of oxygen and nutrients. Since heart attacks are by definition caused by ischemia, that tolerance should help the cells survive long enough to help, Epstein said.

The stem cells appear to help by producing chemicals that stimulate heart regeneration, Epstein said.

The stem cells are of a type called mesenchymal, taken from bone marrow. They were produced by Stemedica, another San Diego stem cell company, which spun off CardioCell.

More information about the U.S. trial, including eligibility criteria, is available at More information about CardioCell is available at

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CardioCell begins 2 heart stem cell trials

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