FDA approves clinical trials for new stem cell therapy for heart attack patients

A scientist holds a tray of stem cells.
A scientist holds a tray of stem cells.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

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Federal authorities have given the go-ahead to human trials that will use a new stem cell treatment to repair heart attack damage.

Researchers at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles led the study into this new stem-cell-based treatment that helps to repair damage that cardiac arrest inflicts on heart muscle.

While preliminary therapies derived from a patient’s own cells have shown to reduce heart attack scarring, this new therapy would treat victims with human stem cells that are mass-replicated in a lab.

Research into the new therapy was supported by a $5.5 million grant from CIRM — the California stem cell agency that was created by voter-approved Proposition 71. This success marks the first time research by a CIRM-funded disease team has resulted in the FDA approving a potential new drug for clinical trials in humans.

Researchers say that, if it’s ultimately approved by the FDA, the new therapy could help the hundreds of thousands of Americans who each year have heart attacks.

The Los Angeles-based biotech firm, Capricor, will be leading the clinical trials.