A biotechnology company in France has developed a new stem cell treatment for heart attack victims who would otherwise need to wait for a transplant.
CellProthera, which is based in Mulhouse in eastern France, is currently halfway through clinical trials with 50 patients and says the new treatment could be available by 2026, all being well.
The pioneering treatment uses stem cells from a patient’s own body to repair their heart. During an extremely promising first stage trial, patients with very bad hearts were injected with stem cells. Their hearts were seen to start repairing themselves and most were able to live lives similar to those before they fell sick.
CellProthera spokeswoman Paula Lee told The Connexion: “They are all people who have had severe heart attacks, which have damaged the heart muscles.”
If all goes to plan, CellProthera’s second-stage trials will end in mid-2023, followed by a third stage on a wider patient pool, with full approval for use in 2026.
Approximately 80,000 people in France suffer from heart attacks each year, with 12,000 resulting in immediate death. Another 10% pass away within an hour of the attack, while 15% of survivors die within a year.
CellProthera aims to assist the approximately 30% of individuals who survive the initial heart attack but have weakened heart muscle due to oxygen deprivation during the attack. Without treatment, this often leads to death within five years.
“We cannot say yet what the cost per patient will be but it will be much cheaper than a heart transplant,” added Lee.
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