Medical Edge: First teen in the world to get heart stem cell treatment

Medical Edge: First teen in the world to get heart stem cell (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - He is just a teenager but a breakthrough treatment he is testing at Cincinnati Children's Hospital could save thousands of lives one day.

A team at The Heart Institute at Cincinnati Children's Hospital medical center is the first in the world to conduct a clinical trial using a unique stem cell therapy. It's been used in adults but never in kids before and it could change the course of lives forever.

Caleb Sizemore is an 18-year-old college student majoring in Hospital Management. He's been cared for in hospitals for much of his life, he has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. One of those muscles is his heart.

Dr. John Jefferies said, "So the disease they develop is something called, is a thing called cardiomyopathy."

The good news is that Caleb's team, led by Dr. Jefferies, may be able to slow down the progression of the heart problem with a new treatment he's been given called Cardiosphere-derived stem cell therapy or CDC therapy. The cells are taken from donor heart tissue, expanded in a lab and then infused right into the heart.

Since stem cells take on the properties of other cells, "This therapy actually offers us the opportunity to reverse some of that scar tissue and if we could reverse the scar tissue in theory we could keep the heart tissue normal indefinitely," said Dr. Jefferies.

They are now following Caleb. We won't know how well it works for about six months. Local 12 will of course bring the results. The idea is that this would be a continual treatment which would be given much in the same way health officials give continual blood pressure or diabetes medicine.

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