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Groundbreaking Stem Cell Clinical Trial

Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute is First in West & Central Florida to Perform a Groundbreaking Stem Cell Clinical Trial for Heart Failure Patients

The first patient has been treated as part of The ATHENA Trial, which derives stem cells from the patient’sown adipose (fat) tissue and injects extracted cells into damaged parts of the heart.

TAMPA, Florida (December 20, 2013) – Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute and Dr. Kiran C. Patel Research Institute announced the first patient, a 59 year old Clearwater man, has been treated as part of the ATHENA clinical trial. The trial, sponsored by San Diego-based Cytori Therapeutics, derives stem cells from the patient’s own fat tissue and injects extracted cells into damaged parts of the heart. The ATHENA trial is a treatment for chronic heart failure due to coronary heart disease. Dr. Charles Lambert, Medical Director of Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute, is leading the way for the first U.S. FDA approved clinical trial using adipose-derived regenerative cells, known as ADRCs, in chronic heart failure patients. “I am pleased to report that all procedures went well. The patient is doing well, he was released and is recovering at home. We look forward to following his progress over the coming months,” said Dr. Charles Lambert. Heart failure (HF) can occur when the muscles of the heart become weakened and cannot pump blood sufficiently throughout the body. The injury is most often caused by inadequate blood flow to the heart resulting from chronic or acute cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks. The ATHENA clinical trial procedure is a three step process. First, the trial involves the collection of fat from the patient’s body by liposuction. Then the fat sample is filtered through a machine that extracts out the stem cells. Finally, the stem cells are injected into the damaged part of the patient’s heart. During this first case at Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute, Dr. Paul Smith performed the liposuction to obtain the fat sample, a team at the Dr. Kiran C. Patel Research Institute isolated stem cells from the fat sample and then Dr. Charles Lambert performed the cell therapy by direct injection into the patient’s heart. “Pepin Heart and Dr. Kiran C. Patel Research Institute is exploring and conducting leading-edge research to develop break-through treatments long before they are even available in other facilities. Stem cells have the unique ability to develop into many different cell types, and in many tissues serve as an internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells,” said Dr. Lambert.

The Pepin Heart Institute has a history of cardiovascular stem cell research as part of the NIH sponsored Cardiac Cell Therapy Research Network (CCTRN) as well as other active cell therapy trials. The trial is a double blind, randomized, placebo controlled study designed to study the use of a patient’s own Adipose-Derived Regenerative Cells (ADRCs) to treat chronic heart failure from coronary heart disease in patients who are on maximal therapy and still have heart failure symptoms. All trial participants undergo a minor liposuction procedure to remove fat (adipose) tissue. Following the liposuction, trial participants may have their tissue processed with Cytori’s proprietary Celution® System to separate and concentrate cells, and prepare them for therapeutic use. Trial participants will then have either their own cells or a placebo injected back into their damaged heart tissue. To test whether ADRCs will improve heart function, several measurements will be made, including peak oxygen consumption (VO2max), which measures how much physical exercise (gentle walking on a treadmill) a patient can perform, blood flow to the heart (perfusion), the amount of blood in the left ventricle at the end of contraction and relaxation (end-systolic and end-diastolic volumes), and the fraction of blood that is pumped during each contraction (ejection fraction). After the injection procedure, patients are seen in the clinic for follow-up visits over the first 12 months; they are then contacted by phone once a year for up to five years after the procedure.

There are approximately 5.1 million Americans currently living with heart failure, according to the American Heart Association. Chronic heart failure due to coronary heart disease is a severe, debilitating condition caused by restriction of blood flow to the heart muscle, reducing the heart’s oxygen supply and limiting its pumping function. Individuals interested in participating in the ATHENA clinical research trial or learning more can visit www.theathenatrial.com or call Brian Nordgren, Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute Physician Assistant & Stem Cell Program Lead at (813) 615-7527.

About Florida Hospital Tampa
Florida Hospital Tampa is a not-for-profit 475-bed tertiary hospital specializing in cardiovascular medicine, neuroscience, orthopaedics, women’s services, pediatrics, oncology, endocrinology, bariatrics, wound healing, sleep medicine and general surgery including minimally invasive and robotic-assisted procedures. Also located at Florida Hospital Tampa is the renowned Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute, a recognized leader in cardiovascular disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment and leading-edge research. Part of the Adventist Health System, Florida Hospital is a leading health network comprised of 22 hospitals throughout the state. For more information, visit www.FHTampa.org.

About Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute and Dr. Kiran C. Patel Research Institute
Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute is a free-standing cardiovascular institute providing comprehensive cardiovascular care with over 76,000 angioplasty procedures and 11,000 open-heart surgeries in the Tampa Bay region. Leading the way with the first accredited chest pain emergency room in Tampa Bay, the institute is among an elite few in the state of Florida chosen to perform the ground breaking Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) procedure. It is also a HeartCaring designated provider and a Larry King Cardiac Foundation Hospital. Florida Hospital Pepin Heart Institute and the Dr. Kiran C. Patel Research Institute, affiliated with the University of South Florida (USF), are exploring and conducting leading-edge research to develop break-through treatments long before they are available in most other hospitals. To learn more, visit www.FHPepin.org.


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