December 31, 2016
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Study of stem-cell treatment for infants with form of congenital heart disease underway

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A trial evaluating treatment of infants with hypoplastic left heart syndrome with adult stem cells has launched, according to a press release from the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Infants’ hearts will be injected with stem cells from adult bone marrow provided by the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute during open-heart operations, according to the release.

“The premise of this clinical trial is to boost or regenerate the right ventricle, the only ventricle in these babies, to make it pump as strongly as a normal left ventricle,” Sunjay Kaushal, MD, PhD, an associate professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of pediatric cardiac surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center, said in a press release. “We are hoping this therapy will be a game-changer for these patients.”

Thirty babies with hypoplastic left heart syndrome will be enrolled in the study, with half receiving the stem cells. According to the release, the trial is open-label, so parents will know whether their infant received stem cells.

The first two infants to receive the stem-cell treatment are doing well following surgery, Kaushal said in the release.

The CDC estimates that 960 babies per year are born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome in the United States, and only 50% to 60% survive to age 5, according to the release.