Regenerative treatment with mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) has been promising in patients with ischaemic heart failure but needs confirmation in larger randomized trials. We aimed to study effects of intra-myocardial autologous bone marrow-derived MSC treatment in patients with severe ischaemic heart failure.
Methods and results
The MSC-HF trial is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Patients were randomized 2 : 1 to intra-myocardial injections of MSC or placebo, respectively. The primary endpoint was change in left ventricular end-systolic volume (LVESV), measured by magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography at 6 months follow-up. Sixty patients aged 30–80 years with severe ischaemic heart failure, New York Heart Association (NYHA) classes II–III, left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) <45% and no further treatment options were randomized. Fifty-five patients completed the 6-month follow-up (37 MSCs vs. 18 placebo). At 6 months, LVESV was reduced in the MSC group: −7.6 (95% CI −11.8 to −3.4) mL (P = 0.001), and increased in the placebo group: 5.4 (95% CI −0.4 to 11.2) mL (P = 0.07). The difference between groups was 13.0 (95% CI 5.9–20.1) mL (P = 0.001). Compared with placebo, there were also significant improvements in LVEF of 6.2% (P<0.0001), stroke volume of 18.4 mL (P < 0.0001), and myocardial mass of 5.7 g (P = 0.001). No differences were found in NYHA class, 6-min walking test and Kansas City cardiomyopathy questionnaire. No side effects were identified.
Intra-myocardial injections of autologous culture expanded MSCs were safe and improved myocardial function in patients with severe ischaemic heart failure.