U of L explores stem cell treatment for chronic heart pain

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --It's cutting edge research happening in Louisville that could make a world of difference for people suffering from chronic heart pain.

On a mild Monday morning Harry Dennery walked a steady pace on a treadmill inside the Rudd Heart and Lung Center at Jewish Hospital in Downtown Louisville. Dennery said, "I've had heart issues for the last 22 years. I had open heart surgery and then had a triple bypass and three of the four of them closed up. Then I had a couple more stints put in and the last two time I was in the cath lab both of then were blocked 100 percent." After ten minutes on the treadmill at a steady pace and a slow incline the 68 year old could take no more. He said he experienced, "Shortness of breath, discomfort in the chest and tightening in the throat." This is exactly what his doctors wanted to see.

Dr. Michael Flaherty said, " Angina is chest pan coming from the heat and so we're trying to provoke angina to find out at which level that occurs with him now and compare that to later to see if there's an improvement." Dennery is one of the first people being screened for the third phase of clinical trials on the University of Louisville's Renew study. Dr. Flaherty and Dr. Roberto Bolli are researching whether stem cells harvested from a person's own blood can treat chronic heart pain - when injected directly into the heart muscle. Flaherty said, "These chest pain syndromes come from blockages in the top of the heart called the coronary arteries. There's a hope that this change in microenvironment will be able to reconstitute blood vessels where they're not able to deliver blood efficiently."

Reports say Angina affects approximately ten million people in the United States. It is most often caused by stress and physical exertion. This is the only study of its type in Kentucky and one of 50 in North America.

Dennery doesn't yet know if he'll receive the stem cells, a placebo, or standard care but after dealing with a troublesome heart over the better part of two decades and says the idea of a forever fix is enough to make him try. "Because my theory is as long as medical science advances faster than my heart deteriorates, I got a shot."

For more information on being screen for participation in the study contact Tina Collins, brcoll01@louisville.edu, clinical research coordinator, at 502-587-4106.

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U of L explores stem cell treatment for chronic heart pain

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