The McGowan Institute is participating in the country's first two FDA-approved human clinical trials of adult stem cells for cardiac therapy, in which patients' own stem cells are injected into their heart muscle. The patients in the first trial are in need of heart transplants, and will receive their own stem cells at the same time that they are implanted with ventricular assist devices. As donor hearts become available to these patients, the researchers will have an opportunity to examine how the injected stem cells grew and developed in the original hearts.
In the second trial, patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft surgery will receive their own stem cells. This study will help researchers determine how many stem cells are required to improve heart function.