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      Myocardial regeneration strategy using Wharton's jelly mesenchymal stem cells as an off-the-shelf ‘unlimited’ therapeutic agent: results from the Acute Myocardial Infarction First-in-Man Study

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          In large-animal acute myocardial infarction (AMI) models, Wharton's jelly (umbilical cord matrix) mesenchymal stem cells (WJMSCs) effectively promote angiogenesis and drive functional myocardial regeneration. Human data are lacking.


          To evaluate the feasibility and safety of a novel myocardial regeneration strategy using human WJMSCs as a unique, allogenic but immuno-privileged, off-the-shelf cellular therapeutic agent.

          Material and methods

          The inclusion criterion was first, large (LVEF ≤ 45%, CK-MB > 100 U/l) AMI with successful infarct-related artery primary percutaneous coronary intervention reperfusion (TIMI ≥ 2). Ten consecutive patients (age 32–65 years, peak hs-troponin T 17.3 ±9.1 ng/ml and peak CK-MB 533 ±89 U/l, sustained echo LVEF reduction to 37.6 ±2.6%, cMRI LVEF 40.3 ±2.7% and infarct size 20.1 ±2.8%) were enrolled.


          30 × 10 6 WJMSCs were administered (LAD/Cx/RCA in 6/3/1) per protocol at ≈ 5–7 days using a cell delivery-dedicated, coronary-non-occlusive method. No clinical symptoms or ECG signs of myocardial ischemia occurred. There was no epicardial flow or myocardial perfusion impairment (TIMI-3 in all; cTFC 45 ±8 vs. 44 ±9, p = 0.51), and no patient showed hs-troponin T elevation (0.92 ±0.29 ≤ 24 h before vs. 0.89 ±0.28 ≤ 24 h after; decrease, p = 0.04). One subject experienced, 2 days after cell transfer, a transient temperature rise (38.9°C); this was reactive to paracetamol with no sequel. No other adverse events and no significant arrhythmias (ECG Holter) occurred. Up to 12 months there was one new, non-index territory lethal AMI but no adverse events that might be attributable to WJMSC treatment.


          This study demonstrated the feasibility and procedural safety of WJMSC use as off-the-shelf cellular therapy in human AMI and suggested further clinical safety of WJMSC cardiac transfer, providing a basis for randomized placebo-controlled endpoint-powered evaluation.

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          Most cited references 46

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          Comparison of allogeneic vs autologous bone marrow–derived mesenchymal stem cells delivered by transendocardial injection in patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy: the POSEIDON randomized trial.

          Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are under evaluation as a therapy for ischemic cardiomyopathy (ICM). Both autologous and allogeneic MSC therapies are possible; however, their safety and efficacy have not been compared. To test whether allogeneic MSCs are as safe and effective as autologous MSCs in patients with left ventricular (LV) dysfunction due to ICM. A phase 1/2 randomized comparison (POSEIDON study) in a US tertiary-care referral hospital of allogeneic and autologous MSCs in 30 patients with LV dysfunction due to ICM between April 2, 2010, and September 14, 2011, with 13-month follow-up. Twenty million, 100 million, or 200 million cells (5 patients in each cell type per dose level) were delivered by transendocardial stem cell injection into 10 LV sites. Thirty-day postcatheterization incidence of predefined treatment-emergent serious adverse events (SAEs). Efficacy assessments included 6-minute walk test, exercise peak VO2, Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire (MLHFQ), New York Heart Association class, LV volumes, ejection fraction (EF), early enhancement defect (EED; infarct size), and sphericity index. Within 30 days, 1 patient in each group (treatment-emergent SAE rate, 6.7%) was hospitalized for heart failure, less than the prespecified stopping event rate of 25%. The 1-year incidence of SAEs was 33.3% (n = 5) in the allogeneic group and 53.3% (n = 8) in the autologous group (P = .46). At 1 year, there were no ventricular arrhythmia SAEs observed among allogeneic recipients compared with 4 patients (26.7%) in the autologous group (P = .10). Relative to baseline, autologous but not allogeneic MSC therapy was associated with an improvement in the 6-minute walk test and the MLHFQ score, but neither improved exercise VO2 max. Allogeneic and autologous MSCs reduced mean EED by −33.21% (95% CI, −43.61% to −22.81%; P < .001) and sphericity index but did not increase EF. Allogeneic MSCs reduced LV end-diastolic volumes. Low-dose concentration MSCs (20 million cells) produced greatest reductions in LV volumes and increased EF. Allogeneic MSCs did not stimulate significant donor-specific alloimmune reactions. In this early-stage study of patients with ICM, transendocardial injection of allogeneic and autologous MSCs without a placebo control were both associated with low rates of treatment-emergent SAEs, including immunologic reactions. In aggregate, MSC injection favorably affected patient functional capacity, quality of life, and ventricular remodeling. Identifier: NCT01087996.
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            Mesenchymal stem cells in the Wharton's jelly of the human umbilical cord.

            The Wharton's jelly of the umbilical cord contains mucoid connective tissue and fibroblast-like cells. Using flow cytometric analysis, we found that mesenchymal cells isolated from the umbilical cord express matrix receptors (CD44, CD105) and integrin markers (CD29, CD51) but not hematopoietic lineage markers (CD34, CD45). Interestingly, these cells also express significant amounts of mesenchymal stem cell markers (SH2, SH3). We therefore investigated the potential of these cells to differentiate into cardiomyocytes by treating them with 5-azacytidine or by culturing them in cardiomyocyte-conditioned medium and found that both sets of conditions resulted in the expression of cardiomyocyte markers, namely N-cadherin and cardiac troponin I. We also showed that these cells have multilineage potential and that, under suitable culture conditions, are able to differentiate into cells of the adipogenic and osteogenic lineages. These findings may have a significant impact on studies of early human cardiac differentiation, functional genomics, pharmacological testing, cell therapy, and tissue engineering by helping to eliminate worrying ethical and technical issues.
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              Use of mesenchymal stem cells for therapy of cardiac disease.

              Despite substantial clinical advances over the past 65 years, cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in America. The past 15 years has witnessed major basic and translational interest in the use of stem and precursor cells as a therapeutic agent for chronically injured organs. Among the cell types under investigation, adult mesenchymal stem cells are widely studied, and in early stage, clinical studies show promise for repair and regeneration of cardiac tissues. The ability of mesenchymal stem cells to differentiate into mesoderm- and nonmesoderm-derived tissues, their immunomodulatory effects, their availability, and their key role in maintaining and replenishing endogenous stem cell niches have rendered them one of the most heavily investigated and clinically tested type of stem cell. Accumulating data from preclinical and early phase clinical trials document their safety when delivered as either autologous or allogeneic forms in a range of cardiovascular diseases, but also importantly define parameters of clinical efficacy that justify further investigation in larger clinical trials. Here, we review the biology of mesenchymal stem cells, their interaction with endogenous molecular and cellular pathways, and their modulation of immune responses. Additionally, we discuss factors that enhance their proliferative and regenerative ability and factors that may hinder their effectiveness in the clinical setting.

                Author and article information

                Postepy Kardiol Interwencyjnej
                Postepy Kardiol Interwencyjnej
                Postępy w Kardiologii Interwencyjnej = Advances in Interventional Cardiology
                Termedia Publishing House
                22 June 2015
                : 11
                : 2
                : 100-107
                [1 ]Department of Cardiac and Vascular Diseases, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland
                [2 ]Clinical Departments, John Paul II Hospital, Krakow, Poland
                [3 ]Department of Transplantation, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland
                [4 ]Department of Interventional Cardiology, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland
                [5 ]Nuclear Imaging Laboratory, John Paul II Hospital, Krakow, Poland
                [6 ]Magnetic Resonance Imaging Laboratory, John Paul II Hospital, Krakow, Poland
                Author notes
                Corresponding authors: Piotr Musialek MD, DPhil FESC, Department of Cardiac and Vascular Diseases, Medical College Jagiellonian University, John Paul II Hospital, 80 Pradnicka St, 31-202 Krakow, Poland. e-mail: pmusialek@
                Marcin Majka PhD DSc, Department of Transplantation, Medical College Jagiellonian University, Polish-American Institute of Pediatrics, 265 Wielicka St, 30-663 Krakow, Poland. e-mail: mmajka@
                Copyright © 2015 Termedia

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License, permitting all non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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