The article, entitled Myocardial Regeneration with Autologous Myoblasts: An Experimental and Clinical Study, whose first author is Dr. Juan José Gavira, of the department of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery of the University Hospital of the University of Navarra, has received the Rafael Hervada Prize for Biomedical Research.
The study began with experiments on a porcine model of myocardial infarction. One month after inducing the disorder, adult stem cells (autologous myoblasts from the animal itself) were implanted by surgical and percutaneous means.
The results of this study revealed that this implantation of stem cells improved the function of the left ventricle: there was observed a significant increase in vasculogenesis and a significant decrease of fibrosis in the zones where the stem cells were injected, which could explain some of the mechanisms by which this treatment provides its benefits.
This experimental approach introduced a new technique: the injection of cells by two mechanisms: surgical and percutaneous (using a special catheter). Given that this technique both offers clinical benefits as well as greater security, in the future the patient may be able to avoid surgery altogether.
In addition, the research was concluded with a clinical trial in 12 patients who manifested antecedents to acute myocardial infarction, who were provided with traditional coronary bypass surgery, as well as an injection of myoblasts (adult stem cells) in the infarcted zone. Based on the results, this treatment is both practical and promising.
The study has included the participation of professionals from the departments of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery of the University Hospital of Navarra, and from the Area of Cellular Therapy and Hematology, as well as the collaboration of Professor Diego Martínez Caro.