National / Science & Health

Osaka University develops stem cell spray to treat heart failure

Kyodo

Osaka University said Friday it has developed a new treatment for heart failure that involves spraying stem cells directly onto the critical organ.

Created by a team led by Yoshiki Sawa, a professor of cardiovascular surgery at the university, the simple treatment does not require the use of cell-processing facilities, meaning it can easily be put into practice at hospitals. The university aims to make the treatment available in three to five years.

The treatment targets patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart muscles do not get enough blood supply. If it worsens, the heart muscles become necrotic, and the heart’s ability to pump blood declines.

The new method involves spraying mesenchymal stem cells in adhesive solutions onto the heart during coronary bypass surgery. The process takes less than a minute.

“By conducting it simultaneously with coronary artery bypass surgery, it helps the recovery of heart functions,” Sawa said at a news conference.

The team aims to check the safety and effectiveness of the treatment by holding a clinical trial at Osaka University Hospital. It hopes to win approval for public health care coverage.

The same team previously developed a separate treatment that involves transplanting “sheets” of heart muscle cells created by culturing other cells taken from the thighs. While the treatment is already in practice, it has not become popular as it requires a cell-processing facility.