Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital Leads World's First Adult Stem Cell Study Using Patient's Own Fat Tissue

HOUSTON - [February 1, 2007] – This week, for the first time in humans, a heart failure patient received adult stem cells – taken from his own adipose (fat) tissue – which were processed and injected directly into the heart muscle with a special catheter. and Francisco Fernandez-Avilés, M.D. performed the procedure in Madrid. The Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital is leading the collaborative clinical trial which will involve 30 patients.

The trial site for the study is Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón in Madrid, Spain. Dr. Fernandez-Avilés, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Chief of Cardiology Service at Gregorio Marañón and Dr. Perin, Director of New Interventional Cardiovascular Technology and Director of Stem Cell Center at the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's will serve as co-principal investigators.

The procedure involves removing adult stem cells from adipose tissue just as in a liposuction procedure. The cells are processed with a proprietary process developed by Cytori Therapeutics, Inc. After about one hour of processing, the stem cells are injected directly into damaged but viable areas of the heart muscle through an investigational device called a NOGA catheter. This catheter allows three-dimensional color-coded maps of the mechanical and electrical function of the heart's left ventricle.

"This is the first time we have used adipose-derived stem cells in humans. We had good results in our pre-clinical tests and we are excited about taking this research to the next level," said Dr. Perin.

A variety of clinical functional and imaging endpoints will be assessed in the study. The outcomes of the study will be evaluated after a six month follow up. The doctors expect to present the six month outcomes of the study in 2008.

"This is another significant advance in our international collaboration to find solutions to heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases through adult stem cell treatment. The Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's has been conducting the first FDA-approved adult stem cell study for heart failure patients using stem cells taken from the patients' own bone marrow. We have almost completed enrolling the final patient in that 30-patient study and look forward to sharing those results later this year," said James T. Willerson, M.D., president-elect and medical director of the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's. Dr. Willerson is also president of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can't adequately pump sufficient blood to the body's other organs. It is the only cardiovascular condition which continues to rise in the U.S. More than half a million Americans are diagnosed with heart failure each year.

The Texas Heart Institute, founded by world-renowned cardiovascular surgeon Dr. Denton A. Cooley in 1962, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing the devastating toll of cardiovascular disease through innovative and progressive programs in research, education and improved patient care. Together with its clinical partner, St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital, it has been ranked among the top ten cardiovascular centers in the United States by U.S. News & World Report's annual guide to "America's Best Hospitals" for the past 16 years. The Texas Heart Institute is also affiliated with the University of Texas (UT) System, which promotes collaboration in cardiovascular research and education among UT and THI faculty at the Texas Heart Institute and other UT components. For more information about the Institute, please visit

St. Luke's Episcopal Health System comprises the flagship St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in the Texas Medical Center, founded in 1954 by the Episcopal Diocese of Texas; St. Luke's Community Medical Center–The Woodlands, opened in 2003; St. Luke's Episcopal Health Charities, a charity devoted to assessing and enhancing community health, especially among the underserved; and Kelsey-Seybold Management, LLP, overseeing 21 area clinic locations. St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital is home to the Texas Heart® Institute, founded in 1962 by Denton A. Cooley, MD, and is consistently ranked among the top 10 cardiology and heart surgery centers in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Affiliated with several nursing schools and two medical schools, St. Luke's serves as the primary adult teaching hospital for Baylor College of Medicine. St. Luke's was the first hospital in Texas named a Magnet hospital for nursing excellence, and the Health System has been recognized by FORTUNE as among"100 Best Companies to Work For" and by Houston Business Journal as a top employer in Houston. For more information about St. Luke's, please visit


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