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1.  Cardiac Repair and Regeneration: The Value of Cell Therapies 
European cardiology  2015;11(1):43-48.
Ischaemic heart disease is the predominant contributor to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality; one million myocardial Infarctions occur per year in the USA, while more than five million patients suffer from chronic heart failure. Recently, heart failure has been singled out as an epidemic and is a staggering clinical and public health problem associated with significant mortality, morbidity and healthcare expenditures, particularly among those aged ≥65 years. Death rates have improved dramatically over the last four decades, but new approaches are nevertheless urgently needed for those patients who go on to develop ventricular dysfunction and chronic heart failure. Over the past decade, stem cell transplantation has emerged as a promising therapeutic strategy for acute or chronic ischaemic cardiomyopathy. Multiple candidate cell types have been used in preclinical animal models and in humans to repair or regenerate the injured heart, either directly or indirectly (through paracrine effects), including: embryonic stem cells (ESCs), induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), neonatal cardiomyocytes, skeletal myoblasts (SKMs), endothelial progenitor cells, bone marrow mononuclear cells (BMMNCs), mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and, most recently, cardiac stem cells (CSCs). Although no consensus has emerged yet, the ideal cell type for the treatment of heart disease should: (a) improve heart function; (b) create healthy and functional cardiac muscle and vasculature, integrated into the host tissue; (c) be amenable to delivery by minimally invasive clinical methods; (d) be available ′off the shelf′ as a standardised reagent; (e) be tolerated by the immune system; (f) be safe oncologically, i.e. not create tumours; and (g) circumvent societal ethical concerns. At present, it is not clear whether such a ′perfect′ stem cell exists; what is apparent, however, is that some cell types are more promising than others. In this brief review, we provide ongoing data on agreement and controversy arising from clinical trials and touch upon the future directions of cell therapy for heart disease.
doi:10.15420/ecr.2016:8:1
PMCID: PMC4973885  PMID: 27499812
Acute myocardial infarction; bone marrow stem cells; cardiac repair; cardiac regeneration; cardiac stem cells; cardiac stem/progenitor cells; embryonic stem cells; ischaemic cardiomyopathy; mesenchymal stem cells; pericytes; skeletal myoblasts
2.  MicroRNA-133a engineered mesenchymal stem cells augment cardiac function and cell survival in the infarct heart 
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. The most common manifestation of cardiovascular disease is myocardial infarction (MI), which can ultimately lead to congestive heart failure (CHF). Cell therap (cardiomyoplasty) is a new potential therapeutic treatment alternative for the damaged heart. Recent preclinical and clinical studies have shown that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are a promising cell type for cardiomyoplasty applications. However, a major limitation is the poor survival rate of transplanted stem cells in the infarcted heart. miR-133a is an abundantly expressed microRNA in the cardiac muscle and is down-regulated in patients with MI. We hypothesized that reprogramming MSCs using microRNA-mimics (double-stranded oligonucleotides) will improve survival of stem cells in the damaged heart. MSCs were transfected with miR-133a mimic and antagomirs and the levels of miR-133a were measured by qRT-PCR. Rat hearts were subjected to MI and MSCs transfected with miR-133a mimic or antagomir were implanted in the ischemic heart. Four weeks after MI, cardiac function, cardiac fibrosis, miR-133a levels and apoptosis related genes (Apaf-1, Capase-9 and Caspase-3) were measured in the heart. We found that transfecting MSCs with miR-133a mimic improves survival of MSCs as determined by the MTT assay. Similarly, transplantation of miR-133a mimic transfected MSCs in rat hearts subjected to MI led to a significant increase in cell engraftment, cardiac function and decreased fibrosis when compared with MSCs only or MI groups. At the molecular level, qRT-PCR data demonstrated a significant decrease in expression of the pro-apoptotic genes; Apaf-1, caspase-9 and caspase-3 in the miR-133a mimic transplanted group. Further, luciferase reporter assay confirmed that miR- 133a is a direct target for Apaf-1. Overall, bioengineering of stem cells through miRNAs manipulation could potentially improve the therapeutic outcome of patients undergoing stem cell transplantation for myocardial infarction.
doi:10.1097/FJC.0000000000000183
PMCID: PMC4452997  PMID: 25658461
Myocardial Infarction; Mesenchymal Stem Cells; microRNAs
3.  Lost in Translation: What is Limiting Cardiomyoplasty and Can Tissue Engineering Help? 
Heart failure accounts for more deaths in the United States than any other detrimental human pathology. Recently, repairing the heart after seemingly irreversible injury leading to heart failure appears to have come within reach. Cellular cardiomyoplasty, transplanting viable cell alternatives into the diseased myocardium, has emerged as a promising possible solution. Translating this approach from the laboratory to the clinic, however, has been met with several challenges, leaving many questions unanswered. This review assesses the state of investigation of several progenitor cell sources, including induced pluripotent stem cells, embryonic stem cells, bone marrow stem cells, adipose-derived adult stem cells, amniotic fluid stem cells, skeletal muscle progenitors, induced pluripotent stem cells and cardiac progenitors. Several current roadblocks to maximum success are discussed. These include understanding the need for cardiomyocyte differentiation, appreciating the role of paracrine factors, and addressing the low engraftment rates using current techniques. Tissue engineering strategies to address these obstacles and to help maximize cellular cardiomyoplasty success are reviewed.
PMCID: PMC3164232  PMID: 19492979
Progenitor cell; differentiation; paracrine factors; cell delivery; tissue engineering; myocardial infarction
4.  Host tissue response in stem cell therapy 
World journal of stem cells  2010;2(4):61-66.
Preclinical and clinical trials of stem cell therapy have been carried out for treating a broad spectrum of diseases using several types of adult stem cells. While encouraging therapeutic results have been obtained, much remains to be investigated regarding the best cell type to use, cell dosage, delivery route, long-term safety, clinical feasibility, and ultimately treatment cost. Logistic aspects of stem cell therapeutics remain an area that requires urgent attention from the medical community. Recent cardiovascular trial studies have demonstrated that growth factors and cytokines derived from the injected stem cells and host tissue appear to contribute largely to the observed therapeutic benefits, indicating that trophic actions rather than the multilineage potential (or stemness) of the administered stem cells may provide the underlying tissue healing power. However, the capacity for trophic factor production can be aberrantly downregulated as seen in human heart disease. Skeletal muscle is a dynamic tissue with an impressive ability to continuously respond to environmental stimuli. Indeed, a relation exists between active skeletal muscle and low cardiovascular risk, highlighting the critical link between the skeletal muscle and cardiovascular systems. Adding to this notion are recent studies showing that stem cells injected into skeletal muscle can rescue the failing rodent heart through activation of the muscle trophic factor network and mobilization of bone marrow multilineage progenitor cells. However, aging and disease can adversely affect the host tissue into which stem cells are injected. A better understanding of the host tissue response in stem cell therapy is necessary to advance the field and bridge the gap between preclinical and clinical findings.
doi:10.4252/wjsc.v2.i4.61
PMCID: PMC2964154  PMID: 21031156
Stem cell therapy; Skeletal muscle; Heart; Growth factor; Cytokine
5.  Host tissue response in stem cell therapy 
World Journal of Stem Cells  2010;2(4):61-66.
Preclinical and clinical trials of stem cell therapy have been carried out for treating a broad spectrum of diseases using several types of adult stem cells. While encouraging therapeutic results have been obtained, much remains to be investigated regarding the best cell type to use, cell dosage, delivery route, long-term safety, clinical feasibility, and ultimately treatment cost. Logistic aspects of stem cell therapeutics remain an area that requires urgent attention from the medical community. Recent cardiovascular trial studies have demonstrated that growth factors and cytokines derived from the injected stem cells and host tissue appear to contribute largely to the observed therapeutic benefits, indicating that trophic actions rather than the multilineage potential (or stemness) of the administered stem cells may provide the underlying tissue healing power. However, the capacity for trophic factor production can be aberrantly downregulated as seen in human heart disease. Skeletal muscle is a dynamic tissue with an impressive ability to continuously respond to environmental stimuli. Indeed, a relation exists between active skeletal muscle and low cardiovascular risk, highlighting the critical link between the skeletal muscle and cardiovascular systems. Adding to this notion are recent studies showing that stem cells injected into skeletal muscle can rescue the failing rodent heart through activation of the muscle trophic factor network and mobilization of bone marrow multilineage progenitor cells. However, aging and disease can adversely affect the host tissue into which stem cells are injected. A better understanding of the host tissue response in stem cell therapy is necessary to advance the field and bridge the gap between preclinical and clinical findings.
doi:10.4252/wjsc.v2.i4.61
PMCID: PMC2964154  PMID: 21031156
Stem cell therapy; Skeletal muscle; Heart; Growth factor; Cytokine
6.  Current Stem Cell Delivery Methods for Myocardial Repair 
BioMed Research International  2012;2013:547902.
Heart failure commonly results from an irreparable damage due to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. In recent years, the rapid advancements in stem cell research have garnered much praise for paving the way to novel therapies in reversing myocardial injuries. Cell types currently investigated for cellular delivery include embryonic stem cells (ESCs), induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), and adult stem cell lineages such as skeletal myoblasts, bone-marrow-derived stem cells (BMSCs), mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), and cardiac stem cells (CSCs). To engraft these cells into patients' damaged myocardium, a variety of approaches (intramyocardial, transendocardial, transcoronary, venous, intravenous, intracoronary artery and retrograde venous administrations and bioengineered tissue transplantation) have been developed and explored. In this paper, we will discuss the pros and cons of these delivery modalities, the current state of their therapeutic potentials, and a multifaceted evaluation of their reported clinical feasibility, safety, and efficacy. While the issues of optimal delivery approach, the best progenitor stem cell type, the most effective dose, and timing of administration remain to be addressed, we are highly optimistic that stem cell therapy will provide a clinically viable option for myocardial regeneration.
doi:10.1155/2013/547902
PMCID: PMC3591183  PMID: 23509740
7.  Present and Future Perspectives on Cell Sheet-Based Myocardial Regeneration Therapy 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:583912.
Heart failure is a life-threatening disorder worldwide and many papers reported about myocardial regeneration through surgical method induced by LVAD, cellular cardiomyoplasty (cell injection), tissue cardiomyoplasty (bioengineered cardiac graft implantation), in situ engineering (scaffold implantation), and LV restrictive devices. Some of these innovated technologies have been introduced to clinical settings. Especially, cell sheet technology has been developed and has already been introduced to clinical situation. As the first step in development of cell sheet, neonatal cardiomyocyte sheets were established and these sheets showed electrical and histological homogeneous heart-like tissue with contractile ability in vitro and worked as functional heart muscle which has electrical communication with recipient myocardium in small animal heart failure model. Next, as a preclinical study, noncontractile myoblast sheets have been established and these sheets have proved to secrete multiple cytokines such as HGF or VEGF in vitro study. Moreover, in vivo studies using large and small animal heart failure model have been done and myoblast sheets could improve diastolic and systolic performance by cytokine paracrine effect such as angiogenesis, antifibrosis, and stem cell migration. Recently evidenced by these preclinical results, clinical trials using autologous myoblast sheets have been started in ICM and DCM patients and some patients showed LV reverse remodelling, improved symptoms, and exercise tolerance. Recent works demonstrated that iPS cell-derived cardiomyocyte sheet were developed and showed electrical and microstructural homogeneity of heart tissue in vitro, leading to the establishment of proof of concept in small and large animal heart failure model.
doi:10.1155/2013/583912
PMCID: PMC3867859  PMID: 24369013
8.  Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Cardiac Regeneration: Translation to Bedside Reality 
Stem Cells International  2012;2012:646038.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimate of 17.3 million people died from CVDs in 2008 and by 2030, the number of deaths is estimated to reach almost 23.6 million. Despite the development of a variety of treatment options, heart failure management has failed to inhibit myocardial scar formation and replace the lost cardiomyocyte mass with new functional contractile cells. This shortage is complicated by the limited ability of the heart for self-regeneration. Accordingly, novel management approaches have been introduced into the field of cardiovascular research, leading to the evolution of gene- and cell-based therapies. Stem cell-based therapy (aka, cardiomyoplasty) is a rapidly growing alternative for regenerating the damaged myocardium and attenuating ischemic heart disease. However, the optimal cell type to achieve this goal has not been established yet, even after a decade of cardiovascular stem cell research. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) in particular have been extensively investigated as a potential therapeutic approach for cardiac regeneration, due to their distinctive characteristics. In this paper, we focus on the therapeutic applications of MSCs and their transition from the experimental benchside to the clinical bedside.
doi:10.1155/2012/646038
PMCID: PMC3382381  PMID: 22754578
9.  Cardiovascular and Renal Outcomes of Renin–Angiotensin System Blockade in Adult Patients with Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review with Network Meta-Analyses 
PLoS Medicine  2016;13(3):e1001971.
Background
Medications aimed at inhibiting the renin–angiotensin system (RAS) have been used extensively for preventing cardiovascular and renal complications in patients with diabetes, but data that compare their clinical effectiveness are limited. We aimed to compare the effects of classes of RAS blockers on cardiovascular and renal outcomes in adults with diabetes.
Methods and Findings
Eligible trials were identified by electronic searches in PubMed/MEDLINE and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1 January 2004 to 17 July 2014). Interventions of interest were angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), and direct renin (DR) inhibitors. The primary endpoints were cardiovascular mortality, myocardial infarction, and stroke—singly and as a composite endpoint, major cardiovascular outcome—and end-stage renal disease [ESRD], doubling of serum creatinine, and all-cause mortality—singly and as a composite endpoint, progression of renal disease. Secondary endpoints were angina pectoris and hospitalization for heart failure. In all, 71 trials (103,120 participants), with a total of 14 different regimens, were pooled using network meta-analyses. When compared with ACE inhibitor, no other RAS blocker used in monotherapy and/or combination was associated with a significant reduction in major cardiovascular outcomes: ARB (odds ratio [OR] 1.02; 95% credible interval [CrI] 0.90–1.18), ACE inhibitor plus ARB (0.97; 95% CrI 0.79–1.19), DR inhibitor plus ACE inhibitor (1.32; 95% CrI 0.96–1.81), and DR inhibitor plus ARB (1.00; 95% CrI 0.73–1.38). For the risk of progression of renal disease, no significant differences were detected between ACE inhibitor and each of the remaining therapies: ARB (OR 1.10; 95% CrI 0.90–1.40), ACE inhibitor plus ARB (0.97; 95% CrI 0.72–1.29), DR inhibitor plus ACE inhibitor (0.99; 95% CrI 0.65–1.57), and DR inhibitor plus ARB (1.18; 95% CrI 0.78–1.84). No significant differences were showed between ACE inhibitors and ARBs with respect to all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, myocardial infarction, stroke, angina pectoris, hospitalization for heart failure, ESRD, or doubling serum creatinine. Findings were limited by the clinical and methodological heterogeneity of the included studies. Potential inconsistency was identified in network meta-analyses of stroke and angina pectoris, limiting the conclusiveness of findings for these single endpoints.
Conclusions
In adults with diabetes, comparisons of different RAS blockers showed similar effects of ACE inhibitors and ARBs on major cardiovascular and renal outcomes. Compared with monotherapies, the combination of an ACE inhibitor and an ARB failed to provide significant benefits on major outcomes. Clinicians should discuss the balance between benefits, costs, and potential harms with individual diabetes patients before starting treatment.
Review registration
PROSPERO CRD42014014404
In a systematic review with network meta-analyses, Ferrán Catalá-López and colleagues synthesize published and unpublished data from randomized controlled trials of renin-angiotensin system inhibitors.
Editors' Summary
Background
Chronic high blood pressure can damage blood vessels, heart, and kidneys, and cause cardiovascular and kidney (or renal) disease. Diabetes increases the risk for high blood pressure. An estimated two-thirds of adults with diabetes have high blood pressure or take blood-pressure-reducing drugs (also called antihypertensives). Because diabetes itself increases the risk for heart and kidney diseases, controlling blood pressure is important. Several of the drugs commonly prescribed to patients with diabetes target the renin–angiotensin system (RAS), a hormone system that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance. When renal blood flow is low, kidney cells produce renin and secrete it into the blood stream. Renin in the blood generates a protein called angiotensin I. The angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) in the lungs subsequently converts angiotensin I to angiotensin II, and angiotensin II docks with its partner, the angiotensin receptor. This then leads to a signaling cascade that causes blood vessels to constrict and the kidneys to secrete water and salt into the blood, resulting in increased blood pressure.
Drugs that interrupt different steps in the cascade can lower blood pressure and thereby prevent cardiovascular and renal disease. In addition to their blood-pressure-lowering effects, some RAS blockers have also been shown to protect heart and kidney function through other mechanisms. RAS blockers fall into three main classes: ACE inhibitors block the conversion of angiotensin I into angiotensin II, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) prevent angiotensin II from activating the angiotensin receptor, and direct renin inhibitors inhibit the production of angiotensin I.
Why Was This Study Done?
As many adults with diabetes are prescribed RAS blockers and likely need to take them or related drugs for the rest of their lives, the question of which drug (or drug combination) has the best results and the least side effects is important. Data from many randomized controlled trials (RCTs, which are the most rigorous clinical tests) have generated results that address this question. Their combined analysis, however, is complicated because the trials often don’t compare all treatments directly, don’t use the exact same treatments in patients with the exact same conditions, or don’t measure the exact same outcomes. Nonetheless, scientists have developed methods to analyze such complex data, including a method called network meta-analysis, which helps to integrate and synthesize diverse results to determine the relative merits of multiple treatments. Here the researchers apply network meta-analysis to all available data from RCTs in which adults with diabetes were given RAS blockers, alone or in combination with other high blood pressure treatments, and that measured cardiovascular or renal outcomes.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers started with a systematic search of the medical literature for RCTs that tested RAS blockers alone or in combination in adults with diabetes. They also contacted the sponsors of many studies to find out whether they had additional data that were not included in the published reports. They included all trials that had at least 100 participants, followed the participants for at least 12 months, and reported cardiovascular or renal outcomes. In all, 71 trials that tested a total of 14 different treatment regimens in 103,120 participants met these criteria. With network meta-analysis, the researchers were able to summarize the results of all these trials in a meaningful way. They did this by integrating direct comparisons of RAS blockers within the same trial (where those were available) with indirect comparisons across all trials. The primary endpoints in their analysis were major cardiovascular outcome (a composite of cardiovascular mortality, nonfatal heart attack, and nonfatal stroke) and progression of renal disease (a composite of end-stage renal disease, doubling of serum creatinine [a marker of reduced kidney function], and all-cause mortality). They also analyzed the individual cardiovascular or renal outcomes separately, but these results carried more uncertainty because fewer patients had the individual, compared with the combined, outcomes.
The researchers found no significant differences in the risk of major cardiovascular outcome between ACE inhibitors and either ARBs or a combination of an ACE inhibitor plus an ARB. Similarly, for the risk of progression of renal disease, no significant differences were detected between ACE inhibitors and any of the remaining therapies, such as ARBs or a combination of an ACE inhibitor plus an ARB. They also found that no RAS blocker strategy was superior to ACE inhibitors with respect to all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, heart attacks, strokes, end-stage renal disease, or doubling of serum creatinine. Overall, any single ACE inhibitor or ARB was equally effective as any other, and just as effective as any drug combination.
What Do These Findings Mean?
The findings reinforce North American and European guidelines that recommend ACE inhibitors and ARBs for antihypertensive therapy in patients with diabetes. The fact that combinations of two drugs had outcomes no better than those of a single ACE inhibitor or ARB—together with results from other studies that reported increased adverse effects in patients who took drug combinations—cautions against the use of combination therapy. The findings also contradict earlier reports suggesting that ARBs may increase the risk of cardiovascular outcomes. There were not enough data comparing direct renin inhibitors (a drug class that was developed more recently and therefore has been studied less) with ACE inhibitors or ARBs to allow strong conclusions; additional research might therefore be warranted.
The analyses here did not consider the costs of any particular drug, or any side effects that were not relevant to the outcomes measured. These factors, together with the results here and a patient’s specific situation, should be taken into account when doctors and their patients discuss and decide appropriate treatments.
Additional Information
This list of resources contains links that can be accessed when viewing the PDF on a device or via the online version of the article at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001971.
The MedlinePlus has links to information on diabetes
The American Diabetes Association provides information on kidney disease, heart disease, and high blood pressure
The European Society of Cardiology has guidelines on diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure
The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has guidelines on renin–angiotensin system drugs
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001971
PMCID: PMC4783064  PMID: 26954482
10.  Therapeutic Application of Cardiac Stem Cells and Other Cell Types 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:736815.
Various researches on regenerative medicine were carried out experimentally, and selected modalities have been introduced to the clinical arena. Meanwhile, the presence of resident stem cells in the heart and their role in physiological cell turnover were demonstrated. So far skeletal myoblasts, bone marrow-derived cells, mesenchymal stromal cells, and resident cardiac cells have been applied for therapeutic myocardial regeneration. Among them, autologous transplantation of c-kit-positive cardiac stem cells in congestive heart failure patients resulted in an outstanding outcome, with long-lasting beneficial effects without major adverse events. By reviewing these clinical trials, an endeavor was made to seek for an ideal cellular therapy for cardiovascular diseases.
doi:10.1155/2013/736815
PMCID: PMC3708396  PMID: 23878816
11.  Personalized Prediction of Lifetime Benefits with Statin Therapy for Asymptomatic Individuals: A Modeling Study 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(12):e1001361.
In a modeling study conducted by Myriam Hunink and colleagues, a population-based cohort from Rotterdam is used to predict the possible lifetime benefits of statin therapy, on a personalized basis.
Background
Physicians need to inform asymptomatic individuals about personalized outcomes of statin therapy for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, current prediction models focus on short-term outcomes and ignore the competing risk of death due to other causes. We aimed to predict the potential lifetime benefits with statin therapy, taking into account competing risks.
Methods and Findings
A microsimulation model based on 5-y follow-up data from the Rotterdam Study, a population-based cohort of individuals aged 55 y and older living in the Ommoord district of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, was used to estimate lifetime outcomes with and without statin therapy. The model was validated in-sample using 10-y follow-up data. We used baseline variables and model output to construct (1) a web-based calculator for gains in total and CVD-free life expectancy and (2) color charts for comparing these gains to the Systematic Coronary Risk Evaluation (SCORE) charts. In 2,428 participants (mean age 67.7 y, 35.5% men), statin therapy increased total life expectancy by 0.3 y (SD 0.2) and CVD-free life expectancy by 0.7 y (SD 0.4). Age, sex, smoking, blood pressure, hypertension, lipids, diabetes, glucose, body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, and creatinine were included in the calculator. Gains in total and CVD-free life expectancy increased with blood pressure, unfavorable lipid levels, and body mass index after multivariable adjustment. Gains decreased considerably with advancing age, while SCORE 10-y CVD mortality risk increased with age. Twenty-five percent of participants with a low SCORE risk achieved equal or larger gains in CVD-free life expectancy than the median gain in participants with a high SCORE risk.
Conclusions
We developed tools to predict personalized increases in total and CVD-free life expectancy with statin therapy. The predicted gains we found are small. If the underlying model is validated in an independent cohort, the tools may be useful in discussing with patients their individual outcomes with statin therapy.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) affects the heart and/or the blood vessels and is a major cause of illness and death worldwide. In the US, for example, coronary heart disease—a CVD in which narrowing of the heart's blood vessels by fatty deposits slows the blood supply to the heart and may eventually cause a heart attack—is the leading cause of death, and stroke—a CVD in which the brain's blood supply is interrupted—is the fourth leading cause of death. Established risk factors for CVD include smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, and high blood levels of a fat called low-density lipoprotein (“bad cholesterol”). Because many of these risk factors can be modified by lifestyle changes and by drugs, CVD can be prevented. Thus, physicians can assess a healthy individual's risk of developing CVD using a CVD prediction model (equations that take into account the CVD risk factors to which the individual is exposed) and can then recommend lifestyle changes and medications to reduce that individual's CVD risk.
Why Was This Study Done?
Current guidelines recommend that asymptomatic (healthy) individuals whose likely CVD risk is high should be encouraged to take statins—cholesterol-lowering drugs—as a preventative measure. Statins help to prevent CVD in healthy people with a high predicted risk of CVD, but, like all medicines, they have some unwanted side effects, so it is important that physicians can communicate both the benefits and drawbacks of statins to their patients in a way that allows them to make an informed decision about taking these drugs. Telling a patient that statins will reduce his or her short-term risk of CVD is not always helpful—patients really need to know the potential lifetime benefits of statin therapy. That is, they need to know how much longer they might live if they take statins. Here, the researchers use a mathematical model to predict the personalized lifetime benefits (increased total and CVD-free life expectancy) of statin therapy for individuals without a history of CVD.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used the Rotterdam Ischemic Heart Disease & Stroke Computer Simulation (RISC) model, which simulates the life courses of individuals through six health states, from well through to CVD or non-CVD death, to estimate lifetime outcomes with and without statin therapy in a population of healthy elderly individuals. They then used these outcomes and information on baseline risk factors to develop a web-based calculator suitable for personalized prediction of the lifetime benefits of statins in routine clinical practice. The model estimated that statin therapy increases average life expectancy in the study population by 0.3 years and average CVD-free life expectancy by 0.7 years. The gains in total and CVD-free life expectancy associated with statin therapy increased with blood pressure, unfavorable cholesterol levels, and body mass index (an indicator of body fat) but decreased with age. Notably, the web-based calculator predicted that some individuals with a low ten-year CVD risk might achieve a similar or larger gain in CVD-free life expectancy with statin therapy than some individuals with a high ten-year risk. So, for example, both a 55-year-old non-smoking woman with a ten-year CVD mortality risk of 2% (a two in a hundred chance of dying of CVD within ten years) and a 65-year-old male smoker with a ten-year CVD mortality risk of 15% might both gain one year of CVD-free life expectancy with statin therapy.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that statin therapy can lead on average to small gains in total life expectancy and slightly larger gains in CVD-free life expectancy among healthy individuals, and show that life expectancy benefits can be predicted using an individual's risk factor profile. The accuracy and generalizability of these findings is limited by the assumptions included in the model (in particular, the model did not allow for the known side effects of statin therapy) and by the data fed into it—importantly, the risk prediction model needs to be validated using an independent dataset. If future research confirms the findings of this study, the researchers' web-based calculator could provide complementary information to the currently recommended ten-year CVD mortality risk assessment. Whether communication of personalized outcomes will ultimately result in better clinical outcomes remains to be seen, however, because patients may be less likely to choose statin therapy when provided with more information about its likely benefits.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001361.
The web-based calculator for personalized prediction of lifetime benefits with statin therapy is available (after agreement to software license)
The American Heart Association provides information about many types of cardiovascular disease for patients, carers, and professionals, including information about drug therapy for cholesterol and a heart attack risk calculator
The UK National Health Service Choices website provides information about cardiovascular disease and about statins
Information is available from the British Heart Foundation on heart disease and keeping the heart healthy; information is also available on statins, including personal stories about deciding to take statins
The US National Heart Lung and Blood Institute provides information on a wide range of cardiovascular diseases
The European Society of Cardiology's cardiovascular disease risk assessment model (SCORE) is available
MedlinePlus provides links to many other sources of information on heart diseases, vascular diseases, stroke, and statins (in English and Spanish)
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001361
PMCID: PMC3531501  PMID: 23300388
12.  Limbal Stem Cell Transplantation 
Executive Summary
Objective
The objective of this analysis is to systematically review limbal stem cell transplantation (LSCT) for the treatment of patients with limbal stem cell deficiency (LSCD). This evidence-based analysis reviews LSCT as a primary treatment for nonpterygium LSCD conditions, and LSCT as an adjuvant therapy to excision for the treatment of pterygium.
Background
Clinical Need: Condition and Target Population
The outer surface of the eye is covered by 2 distinct cell layers: the corneal epithelial layer that overlies the cornea, and the conjunctival epithelial layer that overlies the sclera. These cell types are separated by a transitional zone known as the limbus. The corneal epithelial cells are renewed every 3 to 10 days by a population of stem cells located in the limbus.
Nonpterygium Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency
When the limbal stem cells are depleted or destroyed, LSCD develops. In LSCD, the conjunctival epithelium migrates onto the cornea (a process called conjunctivalization), resulting in a thickened, irregular, unstable corneal surface that is prone to defects, ulceration, corneal scarring, vascularization, and opacity. Patients experience symptoms including severe irritation, discomfort, photophobia, tearing, blepharospasm, chronic inflammation and redness, and severely decreased vision.
Depending on the degree of limbal stem cell loss, LSCD may be total (diffuse) or partial (local). In total LSCD, the limbal stem cell population is completed destroyed and conjunctival epithelium covers the entire cornea. In partial LSCD, some areas of the limbus are unharmed, and the corresponding areas on the cornea maintain phenotypically normal corneal epithelium.
Confirmation of the presence of conjunctivalization is necessary for LSCD diagnosis as the other characteristics and symptoms are nonspecific and indicate a variety of diseases. The definitive test for LSCD is impression cytology, which detects the presence of conjunctival epithelium and its goblet cells on the cornea. However, in the opinion of a corneal expert, diagnosis is often based on clinical assessment, and in the expert’s opinion, it is unclear whether impression cytology is more accurate and reliable than clinical assessment, especially for patients with severe LSCD.
The incidence of LSCD is not well understood. A variety of underlying disorders are associated with LSCD including chemical or thermal injuries, ultraviolet and ionizing radiation, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, multiple surgeries or cryotherapies, contact lens wear, extensive microbial infection, advanced ocular cicatricial pemphigoid, and aniridia. In addition, some LSCD cases are idiopathic. These conditions are uncommon (e.g., the prevalence of aniridia ranges from 1 in 40,000 to 1 in 100,000 people).
Pterygium
Pterygium is a wing-shaped fibrovascular tissue growth from the conjunctiva onto the cornea. Pterygium is the result of partial LSCD caused by localized ultraviolet damage to limbal stem cells. As the pterygium invades the cornea, it may cause irregular astigmatism, loss of visual acuity, chronic irritation, recurrent inflammation, double vision, and impaired ocular motility.
Pterygium occurs worldwide. Incidence and prevalence rates are highest in the “pterygium belt,” which ranges from 30 degrees north to 30 degrees south of the equator, and lower prevalence rates are found at latitudes greater than 40 degrees. The prevalence of pterygium for Caucasians residing in urban, temperate climates is estimated at 1.2%.
Existing Treatments Other Than Technology Being Reviewed
Nonpterygium Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency
In total LSCD, a patient’s limbal stem cells are completely depleted, so any successful treatment must include new stem cells. Autologous oral mucosal epithelium transplantation has been proposed as an alternative to LSCT. However, this procedure is investigational, and there is very limited level 4c evidence1 to support this technique (fewer than 20 eyes examined in 4 case series and 1 case report).
For patients with partial LSCD, treatment may not be necessary if their visual axis is not affected. However, if the visual axis is conjunctivalized, several disease management options exist including repeated mechanical debridement of the abnormal epithelium; intensive, nonpreserved lubrication; bandage contact lenses; autologous serum eye drops; other investigational medical treatments; and transplantation of an amniotic membrane inlay. However, these are all disease management treatments; LSCT is the only curative option.
Pterygium
The primary treatment for pterygium is surgical excision. However, recurrence is a common problem after excision using the bare sclera technique: reported recurrence rates range from 24% to 89%. Thus, a variety of adjuvant therapies have been used to reduce the risk of pterygium recurrence including LSCT, amniotic membrane transplantation (AMT), conjunctival autologous (CAU) transplantation, and mitomycin C (MMC, an antimetabolite drug).
New Technology Being Reviewed
To successfully treat LSCD, the limbal stem cell population must be repopulated. To achieve this, 4 LSCT procedures have been developed: conjunctival-limbal autologous (CLAU) transplantation; living-related conjunctival-limbal allogeneic (lr-CLAL) transplantation; keratolimbal allogeneic (KLAL) transplantation; and ex vivo expansion of limbal stem cells transplantation. Since the ex vivo expansion of limbal stem cells transplantation procedure is considered experimental, it has been excluded from the systematic review. These procedures vary by the source of donor cells and the amount of limbal tissue used. For CLAU transplants, limbal stem cells are obtained from the patient’s healthy eye. For lr-CLAL and KLAL transplants, stem cells are obtained from living-related and cadaveric donor eyes, respectively.
In CLAU and lr-CLAL transplants, 2 to 4 limbal grafts are removed from the superior and inferior limbus of the donor eye. In KLAL transplants, the entire limbus from the donor eye is used.
The recipient eye is prepared by removing the abnormal conjunctival and scar tissue. An incision is made into the conjunctival tissue into which the graft is placed, and the graft is then secured to the neighbouring limbal and scleral tissue with sutures. Some LSCT protocols include concurrent transplantation of an amniotic membrane onto the cornea.
Regulatory Status
Health Canada does not require premarket licensure for stem cells. However, they are subject to Health Canada’s clinical trial regulations until the procedure is considered accepted transplantation practice, at which time it will be covered by the Safety of Human Cells, Tissues and Organs for Transplantation Regulations (CTO Regulations).
Review Strategy
The Medical Advisory Secretariat systematically reviewed the literature to assess the effectiveness and safety of LSCT for the treatment of patients with nonpterygium LSCD and pterygium. A comprehensive search method was used to retrieve English-language journal articles from selected databases.
The GRADE approach was used to systematically and explicitly evaluate the quality of evidence and strength of recommendations.
Summary of Findings
Nonpterygium Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency
The search identified 873 citations published between January 1, 2000, and March 31, 2008. Nine studies met the inclusion criteria, and 1 additional citation was identified through a bibliography review. The review included 10 case series (3 prospective and 7 retrospective).
Patients who received autologous transplants (i.e., CLAU) achieved significantly better long-term corneal surface results compared with patients who received allogeneic transplants (lr-CLAL, P< .001; KLAL, P< .001). There was no significant difference in corneal surface outcomes between the allogeneic transplant options, lr-CLAL and KLAL (P = .328). However, human leukocyte antigen matching and systemic immunosuppression may improve the outcome of lr-CLAL compared with KLAL. Regardless of graft type, patients with Stevens-Johnson syndrome had poorer long-term corneal surface outcomes.
Concurrent AMT was associated with poorer long-term corneal surface improvements. When the effect of the AMT was removed, the difference between autologous and allogeneic transplants was much smaller.
Patients who received CLAU transplants had a significantly higher rate of visual acuity improvements compared with those who received lr-CLAL transplants (P = .002). However, to achieve adequate improvements in vision, patients with deep corneal scarring will require a corneal transplant several months after the LSCT.
No donor eye complications were observed.
Epithelial rejection and microbial keratitis were the most common long-term complications associated with LSCT (complications occurred in 6%–15% of transplantations). These complications can result in graft failure, so patients should be monitored regularly following LSCT.
Pterygium
The search yielded 152 citations published between January 1, 2000 and May 16, 2008. Six randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated LSCT as an adjuvant therapy for the treatment of pterygium met the inclusion criteria and were included in the review.
Limbal stem cell transplantation was compared with CAU, AMT, and MMC. The results showed that CLAU significantly reduced the risk of pterygium recurrence compared with CAU (relative risk [RR], 0.09; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.01–0.69; P = .02). CLAU reduced the risk of pterygium recurrence for primary pterygium compared with MMC, but this comparison did not reach statistical significance (RR, 0.48; 95% CI, 0.21–1.10; P = .08). Both AMT and CLAU had similar low rates of recurrence (2 recurrences in 43 patients and 4 in 46, respectively), and the RR was not significant (RR, 1.88; 95% CI, 0.37–9.5; P = .45). Since sample sizes in the included studies were small, failure to detect a significant difference between LSCT and AMT or MMC could be the result of type II error. Limbal stem cell transplantation as an adjuvant to excision is a relatively safe procedure as long-term complications were rare (< 2%).
GRADE Quality of Evidence
Nonpterygium Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency
The evidence for the analyses related to nonpterygium LSCD was based on 3 prospective and 7 retrospective case series. Thus, the GRADE quality of evidence is very low, and any estimate of effect is very uncertain.
Pterygium
The analyses examining LSCT as an adjuvant treatment option for pterygium were based on 6 RCTs. The quality of evidence for the overall body of evidence for each treatment option comparison was assessed using the GRADE approach. In each of the comparisons, the quality of evidence was downgraded due to serious or very serious limitations in study quality (individual study quality was assessed using the Jadad scale, and an assessment of allocation concealment and the degree of loss to follow-up), which resulted in low- to moderate-quality GRADE evidence ratings (low-quality evidence for the CLAU and AMT and CLAU and MMC comparisons, and moderate-quality evidence for the CLAU and CAU comparison).
Ontario Health System Impact Analysis
Nonpterygium Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency
Since 1999, Ontario’s out-of-country (OOC) program has approved and reimbursed 8 patients for LSCTs and 1 patient for LSCT consultations. Similarly, most Canadian provinces have covered OOC or out-of-province LSCTs. Several corneal experts in Ontario have the expertise to perform LSCTs.
As there are no standard guidelines for LSCT, patients who receive transplants OOC may not receive care aligned with the best evidence. To date, many of the patients from Ontario who received OOC LSCTs received concurrent AMTs, and the evidence from this analysis questions the use of this procedure. In addition, 1 patient received a cultured LSCT, a procedure that is considered investigational. Many patients with LSCD have bilateral disease and therefore require allogeneic transplants. These patients will require systemic and topical immunosuppression for several years after the transplant, perhaps indefinitely. Thus, systemic side effects associated with immunosuppression are a potential concern, and patients must be monitored regularly.
Amniotic membrane transplantation is a common addition to many ocular surface reconstruction procedures, including LSCT. Amniotic membranes are recovered from human placentas from planned, uneventful caesarean sections. Before use, serological screening of the donor’s blood should be conducted. However, there is still a theoretical risk of disease transmission associated with this procedure.
Financial Impact
For the patients who were reimbursed for OOC LSCTs, the average cost of LSCT per eye was $18,735.20 Cdn (range, $8,219.54–$33,933.32). However, the actual cost per patient is much higher as these costs do not include consultations and follow-up visits, multiple LSCTs, and any additional procedures (e.g., corneal transplants) received during the course of treatment OOC. When these additional costs were considered, the average cost per patient was $57,583 Cdn (range, $8,219.54–$130,628.20).
The estimated average total cost per patient for performing LSCT in Ontario is $2,291.48 Cdn (range, $951.48–$4,538.48) including hospital and physician fees. This cost is based on the assumption that LSCT is technically similar to a corneal transplant, an assumption which needs to be verified. The cost does not include corneal transplantations, which some proportion of patients receiving a LSCT will require within several months of the limbal transplant.
Pterygium
Pterygium recurrence rates after surgical excision are high, ranging from 24% to 89%. However, according to clinical experts, the rate of recurrence is low in Ontario. While there is evidence that the prevalence of pterygium is higher in the “pterygium belt,” there was no evidence to suggest different recurrence rates or disease severity by location or climate.
Conclusions
Nonpterygium Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency
Successful LSCTs result in corneal re-epithelialization and improved vision in patients with LSCD. However, patients who received concurrent AMT had poorer long-term corneal surface improvements. Conjunctival-limbal autologous transplantation is the treatment option of choice, but if it is not possible, living-related or cadaveric allogeneic transplants can be used. The benefits of LSCT outweigh the risks and burdens, as shown in Executive Summary Table 1. According to GRADE, these recommendations are strong with low- to very low-quality evidence.
Benefits, Risks, and Burdens – Nonpterygium Limbal Stem Cell Deficiency
Short- and long-term improvement in corneal surface (stable, normal corneal epithelium and decreased vascularization and opacity)
Improvement in vision (visual acuity and functional vision)
Long-term complications are experienced by 8% to 16% of patients
Risks associated with long-term immunosuppression for recipients of allogeneic grafts
Potential risk of induced LSCD in donor eyes
High cost of treatment (average cost per patient via OOC program is $57,583; estimated cost of procedure in Ontario is $2,291.48)
Costs are expressed in Canadian dollars.
GRADE of recommendation: Strong recommendation, low-quality or very low-quality evidence
benefits clearly outweigh risks and burdens
case series studies
strong, but may change if higher-quality evidence becomes available
Pterygium
Conjunctival-limbal autologous transplantations significantly reduced the risk of pterygium recurrence compared with CAU. No other comparison yielded statistically significant results, but CLAU reduced the risk of recurrence compared with MMC. However, the benefit of LSCT in Ontario is uncertain as the severity and recurrence of pterygium in Ontario is unknown. The complication rates suggest that CLAU is a safe treatment option to prevent the recurrence of pterygium. According to GRADE, given the balance of the benefits, risks, and burdens, the recommendations are very weak with moderate quality evidence, as shown in Executive Summary Table 2.
Benefits, Risks, and Burdens – Pterygium
Reduced recurrence; however, if recurrence is low in Ontario, this benefit might be minimal
Long-term complications rare
Increased cost
GRADE of recommendation: Very weak recommendations, moderate quality evidence.
uncertainty in the estimates of benefits, risks, and burden; benefits, risks, and burden may be closely balanced
RCTs
very weak, other alternatives may be equally reasonable
PMCID: PMC3377549  PMID: 23074512
13.  Cellular cardiomyoplasty with autologous skeletal myoblasts for ischemic heart disease and heart failure 
Cell transplantation to repair or regenerate injured myocardium is a new frontier in the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Even though it is based on many years of pre-clinical studies, much remains to be understood about this methodology, even as it progresses to the clinic. For example, controversies exist over the specific cells to be used, the dosages needed for tissue repair, how cells will affect the electrical activity of the myocardium, and even whether the cells can improve myocardial function after transplantation — all of which are briefly reviewed here. Autologous skeletal myoblasts appear to be the most well studied and best first generation cells for cardiac repair. Yet cardiocytes and, more recently, stem cells have been proposed as cell sources for this technology. Their advantages and limitations are also discussed. Although cellular cardiomyoplasty (cell transplantation for cardiac repair) shows great pre-clinical promise, its future will heavily depend on conducting carefully controlled, randomized clinical trials with appropriate endpoints. Utilizing biologically active cells provides both an opportunity for tissue repair and the potential for not yet understood outcomes. As with any frontier, many pioneers will attempt to conquer it. But also as with any frontier, there are pitfalls and consequences to be considered that may surpass those of previous endeavors. The future thus requires careful consideration and well-designed trials rather than haste. The promise for cell transplantation is too great to be spoiled by ill-designed attempts that forget to account for the biology of both the cells and the myocardium.
doi:10.1186/cvm-2-5-208
PMCID: PMC59528  PMID: 11806797
cell transplantation; clinical trials; myoblasts; myocardial repair; stem cells
14.  Sdf-1 (CXCL12) induces CD9 expression in stem cells engaged in muscle regeneration 
Introduction
Understanding the mechanism of stem cell mobilization into injured skeletal muscles is a prerequisite step for the development of muscle disease therapies. Many of the currently studied stem cell types present myogenic potential; however, when introduced either into the blood stream or directly into the tissue, they are not able to efficiently engraft injured muscle. For this reason their use in therapy is still limited. Previously, we have shown that stromal-derived factor-1 (Sdf-1) caused the mobilization of endogenous (not transplanted) stem cells into injured skeletal muscle improving regeneration. Here, we demonstrate that the beneficial effect of Sdf-1 relies on the upregulation of the tetraspanin CD9 expression in stem cells.
Methods
The expression pattern of adhesion proteins, including CD9, was analysed after Sdf-1 treatment during regeneration of rat skeletal muscles and mouse Pax7-/- skeletal muscles, that are characterized by the decreased number of satellite cells. Next, we examined the changes in CD9 level in satellite cells-derived myoblasts, bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells, and embryonic stem cells after Sdf-1 treatment or silencing expression of CXCR4 and CXCR7. Finally, we examined the potential of stem cells to fuse with myoblasts after Sdf-1 treatment.
Results
In vivo analyses of Pax7-/- mice strongly suggest that Sdf-1-mediates increase in CD9 levels also in mobilized stem cells. In the absence of CXCR4 receptor the effect of Sdf-1 on CD9 expression is blocked. Next, in vitro studies show that Sdf-1 increases the level of CD9 not only in satellite cell-derived myoblasts but also in bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells, as well as embryonic stem cells. Importantly, the Sdf-1 treated cells migrate and fuse with myoblasts more effectively.
Conclusions
We suggest that Sdf-1 binding CXCR4 receptor improves skeletal muscle regeneration by upregulating expression of CD9 and thus, impacting at stem cells mobilization to the injured muscles.
doi:10.1186/s13287-015-0041-1
PMCID: PMC4445299  PMID: 25890097
15.  Erectile Dysfunction Severity as a Risk Marker for Cardiovascular Disease Hospitalisation and All-Cause Mortality: A Prospective Cohort Study 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(1):e1001372.
In a prospective Australian population-based study linking questionnaire data from 2006–2009 with hospitalisation and death data to June 2010 for 95,038 men aged ≥45 years, Banks and colleagues found that more severe erectile dysfunction was associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
Background
Erectile dysfunction is an emerging risk marker for future cardiovascular disease (CVD) events; however, evidence on dose response and specific CVD outcomes is limited. This study investigates the relationship between severity of erectile dysfunction and specific CVD outcomes.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a prospective population-based Australian study (the 45 and Up Study) linking questionnaire data from 2006–2009 with hospitalisation and death data to 30 June and 31 Dec 2010 respectively for 95,038 men aged ≥45 y. Cox proportional hazards models were used to examine the relationship of reported severity of erectile dysfunction to all-cause mortality and first CVD-related hospitalisation since baseline in men with and without previous CVD, adjusting for age, smoking, alcohol consumption, marital status, income, education, physical activity, body mass index, diabetes, and hypertension and/or hypercholesterolaemia treatment. There were 7,855 incident admissions for CVD and 2,304 deaths during follow-up (mean time from recruitment, 2.2 y for CVD admission and 2.8 y for mortality). Risks of CVD and death increased steadily with severity of erectile dysfunction. Among men without previous CVD, those with severe versus no erectile dysfunction had significantly increased risks of ischaemic heart disease (adjusted relative risk [RR] = 1.60, 95% CI 1.31–1.95), heart failure (8.00, 2.64–24.2), peripheral vascular disease (1.92, 1.12–3.29), “other” CVD (1.26, 1.05–1.51), all CVD combined (1.35, 1.19–1.53), and all-cause mortality (1.93, 1.52–2.44). For men with previous CVD, corresponding RRs (95% CI) were 1.70 (1.46–1.98), 4.40 (2.64–7.33), 2.46 (1.63–3.70), 1.40 (1.21–1.63), 1.64 (1.48–1.81), and 2.37 (1.87–3.01), respectively. Among men without previous CVD, RRs of more specific CVDs increased significantly with severe versus no erectile dysfunction, including acute myocardial infarction (1.66, 1.22–2.26), atrioventricular and left bundle branch block (6.62, 1.86–23.56), and (peripheral) atherosclerosis (2.47, 1.18–5.15), with no significant difference in risk for conditions such as primary hypertension (0.61, 0.16–2.35) and intracerebral haemorrhage (0.78, 0.20–2.97).
Conclusions
These findings give support for CVD risk assessment in men with erectile dysfunction who have not already undergone assessment. The utility of erectile dysfunction as a clinical risk prediction tool requires specific testing.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Erectile dysfunction is the medical term used when a man is unable to achieve or sustain an erection of his penis suitable for sexual intercourse. Although a sensitive topic that can cause much embarrassment and distress, erectile dysfunction is very common, with an estimated 40% of men over the age of 40 years experiencing frequent or occasional difficulties. The most common causes of erectile dysfunction are medications, chronic illnesses such as diabetes, and drinking too much alcohol. Stress and mental health problems can also cause or worsen erectile dysfunction. There is also increasing evidence that erectile dysfunction may actually be a symptom of cardiovascular disease—a leading cause of death worldwide—as erectile dysfunction could indicate a problem with blood vessels or poor blood flow commonly associated with cardiovascular disease.
Why Was This Study Done?
Although previous studies have suggested that erectile dysfunction can serve as a marker for cardiovascular disease in men not previously diagnosed with the condition, few studies to date have investigated whether erectile dysfunction could also indicate worsening disease in men already diagnosed with cardiovascular disease. In addition, previous studies have typically been small and have not graded the severity of erectile dysfunction or investigated the specific types of cardiovascular disease associated with erectile dysfunction. In this large study conducted in Australia, the researchers investigated the relationship of the severity of erectile dysfunction with a range of cardiovascular disease outcomes among men with and without a previous diagnosis of cardiovascular disease.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers used information from the established 45 and Up Study, a large cohort study that includes 123,775 men aged 45 and over, selected at random from the general population of New South Wales, a large region of Australia. A total of 95,038 men were included in this analysis. The male participants completed a postal questionnaire that included a question on erectile functioning, which allowed the researchers to define erectile dysfunction as none, mild, moderate, or severe. Using information captured in the New South Wales Admitted Patient Data Collection—a complete record of all public and private hospital admissions, including the reasons for admission and the clinical diagnosis—and the government death register, the researchers were able to determine health outcomes of all study participants. They then used a statistical model to estimate hospital admissions for cardiovascular disease events for different levels of erectile dysfunction.
The researchers found that the rates of severe erectile dysfunction among study participants were 2.2% for men aged 45–54 years, 6.8% for men aged 55–64 years, 20.2% for men aged 65–74 years, 50.0% for men aged 75–84 years, and 75.4% for men aged 85 years and over. During the study period, the researchers recorded 7,855 hospital admissions related to cardiovascular disease and 2,304 deaths. The researchers found that among men without previous cardiovascular disease, those with severe erectile dysfunction were more likely to develop ischemic heart disease (risk 1.60), heart failure (risk 8.00), peripheral vascular disease (risk 1.92), and other causes of cardiovascular disease (risk 1.26) than men without erectile dysfunction. The risks of heart attacks and heart conduction problems were also increased (1.66 and 6.62, respectively). Furthermore, the combined risk of all cardiovascular disease outcomes was 1.35, and the overall risk of death was also higher (risk 1.93) in these men. The researchers found that these increased risks were similar in men with erectile dysfunction who had previously been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that compared to men without erectile dysfunction, there is an increasing risk of ischemic heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, and death from all causes in those with increasing degrees of severity of erectile dysfunction. The authors emphasize that erectile dysfunction is a risk marker for cardiovascular disease, not a risk factor that causes cardiovascular disease. These findings add to previous studies and highlight the need to consider erectile dysfunction in relation to the risk of different types of cardiovascular disease, including heart failure and heart conduction disorders. However, the study's reliance on the answer to a single self-assessed question on erectile functioning limits the findings. Nevertheless, these findings provide useful information for clinicians: men with erectile dysfunction are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease, and the worse the erectile dysfunction, the higher the risk of cardiovascular disease. Men with erectile dysfunction, even at mild or moderate levels, should be screened and treated for cardiovascular disease accordingly.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001372.
Wikipedia defines erectile dysfunction (note that Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
MedlinePlus also has some useful patient information on erectile dysfunction
The Mayo Clinic has patient-friendly information on the causes of, and treatments for, erectile dysfunction, and also includes information on the link with cardiovascular disease
The National Heart Foundation of Australia provides information for health professionals, patients, and the general public about how to prevent and manage cardiovascular disease, including assessment and management of cardiovascular disease risk
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001372
PMCID: PMC3558249  PMID: 23382654
16.  The Clinical Status of Stem Cell Therapy for Ischemic Cardiomyopathy 
Stem Cells International  2015;2015:135023.
Ischemic cardiomyopathy (ICM) is becoming a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the whole world. Stem cell-based therapy is emerging as a promising option for treatment of ICM. Several stem cell types including cardiac-derived stem cells (CSCs), bone marrow-derived stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), skeletal myoblasts (SMs), and CD34+ and CD 133+ stem cells have been applied in clinical researches. The clinical effect produced by stem cell administration in ICM mainly depends on the transdifferentiation and paracrine effect. One important issue is that low survival and residential rate of transferred stem cells in the infracted myocardium blocks the effective advances in cardiac improvement. Many other factors associated with the efficacy of cell replacement therapy for ICM mainly including the route of delivery, the type and number of stem cell infusion, the timing of injection, patient's physical condition, the particular microenvironment onto which the cells are delivered, and clinical condition remain to be addressed. Here we provide an overview of the pros and cons of these transferred cells and discuss the current state of their therapeutic potential. We believe that stem cell translation will be an ideal option for patients following ischemic heart disease in the future.
doi:10.1155/2015/135023
PMCID: PMC4460238  PMID: 26101528
17.  Cellular Cardiomyoplasty and Cardiac Regeneration 
Current Cardiology Reviews  2008;4(2):72-80.
Despite of vast improvements in treatment, myocardial infarction often leads to heart failure (HF) which remains the leading cause of death in developed countries. Other than heart transplantation, therapeutic options have a limited role in improving out comes in patients with severe HF. It is therefore no surprise that cardiac cell therapy has raised many hopes as a novel therapeutic approach aimed at cardiac myocyte replacement/regeneration termed “cellular cardiomyoplasty”. However, the ideal source, cell type, critical cell number, and mode of application for optimal therapeutic effect have not been defined thus far. Recent observations of the beneficial effect of cell transplantation in animal experiments have generated tremendous excitement and stimulated clinical studies suggesting that this approach is feasible, safe, and potentially effective in humans. Cell-based myocardial regeneration is currently being explored for a wide range of cardiac disease states, including acute and chronic ischemic myocardial damage, cardiomyopathy and as biological heart pacemakers. The main purpose of this article is to review recent literature on the use of various cells for the examination of their in vitro cardiogenic potential and their in vivo capacity to engraft and improve the functional properties of the infarcted heart.
doi:10.2174/157340308784245748
PMCID: PMC2779354  PMID: 19936280
Myocardial infarction; heart failure; myoblasts; bone marrow progenitor cells; clinical trials; review.
18.  A Long Road for Stem Cells to Cure Sick Hearts: Update on Recent Clinical Trials 
Korean Circulation Journal  2012;42(2):71-79.
The contribution of stem cells to cure damaged hearts has finally been unraveled. A large number of preclinical and clinical studies have showed beneficial outcomes after myocardial infarction. In this review, the current understanding of stem cell therapy in preclinical and clinical experiences is summarized. Stem cells from bone marrow have shown a potential to improve cardiac performance after myocardial infarction in animal and early clinical studies. Clinical trials from all over the world have provided safety assessments of stem cell therapy with marginal improvement of clinical outcomes. Thus, further investigations should be encouraged to resolve the discrepancies between studies, clinical issues, and unclear translational findings. This review provides information and commentary on key trials for stem cell-based treat-ment of cardiovascular disease.
doi:10.4070/kcj.2012.42.2.71
PMCID: PMC3291729  PMID: 22396692
Stem cells; Myocardial infarction; Animal experimentation; Clinical trial; Peer review, research
19.  EMPOWERING ADULT STEM CELLS FOR MYOCARDIAL REGENERATION 
Circulation Research  2011;109(12):1415-1428.
Treatment strategies for heart failure remain a high priority for ongoing research due to the profound unmet need in clinical disease coupled with lack of significant translational progress. The underlying issue is the same whether the cause is acute damage, chronic stress from disease, or aging: progressive loss of functional cardiomyocytes and diminished hemodynamic output. To stave off cardiomyocyte losses, a number of strategic approaches have been embraced in recent years involving both molecular and cellular approaches to augment myocardial structure and performance. Resultant excitement surrounding regenerative medicine in the heart has been tempered by realizations that reparative processes in the heart are insufficient to restore damaged myocardium to normal functional capacity and that cellular cardiomyoplasty is hampered by poor survival, proliferation, engraftment and differentiation of the donated population. To overcome these limitations, a combination of molecular and cellular approaches needs to be adopted involving use of genetic engineering to enhance resistance to cell death and increase regenerative capacity. This review will highlight biological properties of approached to potentiate stem cell-mediated regeneration to promote enhanced myocardial regeneration, persistence of donated cells, and long lasting tissue repair. Optimizing cell delivery and harnessing the power of survival signaling cascades for ex vivo genetic modification of stem cells prior to reintroduction into the patient will be critical to enhance the efficacy of cellular cardiomyoplasty. Once this goal is achieved, then cell-based therapy has great promise for treatment of heart failure to combat the loss of cardiac structure and function associated with acute damage, chronic disease or aging.
doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.111.243071
PMCID: PMC3266718  PMID: 22158649
regeneration; stem cell; infarction; myocardium
20.  Mesenchymal Stem Cell: Present Challenges and Prospective Cellular Cardiomyoplasty Approaches for Myocardial Regeneration 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2009;11(8):1841-1855.
Abstract
Myocardial ischemia and cardiac dysfunction have been known to follow ischemic heart diseases (IHDs). Despite a plethora of conventional treatment options, their efficacies are associated with skepticism. Cell therapies harbor a promising potential for vascular and cardiac repair, which is corroborated by adequate preclinical evidence. The underlying objectives behind cardiac regenerative therapies subsume enhancing angiomyogenesis in the ischemic myocardium, ameliorating cellular apoptosis, regenerating the damaged myocardium, repopulating the lost resident myocardial cells (smooth muscle, cardiomyocyte, and endothelial cells), and finally, decreasing fibrosis with a consequent reduction in ventricular remodeling. Although-cell based cardiomyoplasty approaches have an immense potential, their clinical utilization is limited owing to the increased need for better candidates for cellular cardiomyoplasty, better routes of delivery, appropriate dose for efficient engraftment, and better preconditioning or genetic-modification strategies for the progenitor and stem cells. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) have emerged as powerful candidates in mediating myocardial repair owing to their unique properties of multipotency, transdifferentiation, intercellular connection with the resident cardiomyocytes via connexin 43 (Cx43)-positive gap junctions in the myocardium, and most important, immunomodulation. In this review, we present an in-depth discussion on the complexities associated with stem and progenitor cell therapies, the potential of preclinical approaches involving MSCs for myocardial repair, and an account of the past milestones and ongoing MSC-based trials in humans. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 11, 1841–1855.
doi:10.1089/ars.2009.2455
PMCID: PMC2848514  PMID: 19260767
21.  Human Cardiomyogenesis and the Need for Systems Biology Analysis 
Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the Western world and myocardial infarction is one of the primary facets of this disease. The limited natural self-renewal of cardiac muscle following injury and restricted supply of heart transplants has encouraged researchers to investigate other means to stimulate regeneration of damaged myocardium. The plasticity of stem cells toward multiple lineages offers the potential to repair the heart following injury. Embryonic stem cells have been extensively studied for their ability to differentiate into early cardiomyocytes, however the pathway has only been partially defined and inadequate efficiency limits their clinical applicability. Some studies have shown cardiomyogenesis from adult mesenchymal stem cells, from both bone marrow and adipose tissue, but their differentiation pathway remains poorly detailed and these results remain controversial. Despite promising results using stem cells in animal models of cardiac injury, the driving mechanisms behind their differentiation down a cardiomyogenic pathway have yet to be determined. Currently there is a paucity of information regarding cardiomyogenesis on the systems level. Stem cell differentiation results from multiple signaling parameters operating in a tightly regulated spatiotemporal pattern. Investigating this phenomenon from a systems biology perspective could unveil the abstruse mechanisms controlling cardiomyogenesis that would otherwise require extensive in vitro testing.
doi:10.1002/wsbm.141
PMCID: PMC3282989  PMID: 21197666
22.  Challenges for heart disease stem cell therapy 
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death worldwide. The use of stem cells to improve recovery of the injured heart after myocardial infarction (MI) is an important emerging therapeutic strategy. However, recent reviews of clinical trials of stem cell therapy for MI and ischemic heart disease recovery report that less than half of the trials found only small improvements in cardiac function. In clinical trials, bone marrow, peripheral blood, or umbilical cord blood cells were used as the source of stem cells delivered by intracoronary infusion. Some trials administered only a stem cell mobilizing agent that recruits endogenous sources of stem cells. Important challenges to improve the effectiveness of stem cell therapy for CVD include: (1) improved identification, recruitment, and expansion of autologous stem cells; (2) identification of mobilizing and homing agents that increase recruitment; and (3) development of strategies to improve stem cell survival and engraftment of both endogenous and exogenous sources of stem cells. This review is an overview of stem cell therapy for CVD and discusses the challenges these three areas present for maximum optimization of the efficacy of stem cell therapy for heart disease, and new strategies in progress.
doi:10.2147/VHRM.S25665
PMCID: PMC3295632  PMID: 22399855
mobilization; expansion; homing; survival; engraftment
23.  Osteogenic Protein-1 for Long Bone Nonunion 
Executive Summary
Objective
To assess the efficacy of osteogenic protein-1 (OP-1) for long bone nonunion.
Clinical Need
Although most fractures heal within a normal period, about 5% to 10% do not heal and are classified as delayed or nonunion fractures. Nonunion and segmental bone loss after fracture, reconstructive surgery, or lesion excision can present complex orthopedic problems, and the multiple surgical procedures often needed are associated with patient morbidity and reduced quality of life.
Many factors contribute to the pathogenesis of a delayed union or nonunion fractures, including deficiencies of calcium, vitamin D, or vitamin C, and side effects of medications such as anticoagulants, steroids, some anti-inflammatory drugs, and radiation. It has been shown that smoking interferes with bone repair in several ways.
Incidence of Nonunion and Delayed Union Cases
An estimated 5% to 10% of fractures do not heal properly and go on to delayed union or nonunion. If this overall estimate of incidence were applied to the Ontario population1, the estimated number of delayed union or nonunion in the province would be between 3,863 and 7,725.
Treatment of Nonunion Cases
The treatment of nonunion cases is a challenge to orthopedic surgeons. However, the basic principle behind treatment is to provide both mechanical and biological support to the nonunion site.
Fracture stabilization and immobilization is frequently used with the other treatment modalities that provide biological support to the fractured bone. Biological support includes materials that could be served as a source of osteogenic cells (osteogenesis), a stimulator of mesenchymal cells (osteoinduction), or a scaffold-like structure (osteoconduction).
The capacity to heal a fracture is a latent potential of the stromal stem cells, which synthesize new bone. This process has been defined as osteogenesis. Activation of the stem cells to initiate osteogenic response and to differentiate into bone-forming osteoblasts is called osteoinduction. These 2 properties accelerate the rate of fracture healing or reactivate the ineffective healing process. Osteoconduction occurs when passive structures facilitate the migration of osteoprogenitor cells, the perivascular tissue, and capillaries into these structures.
Bone Grafts and Bone Graft Substitutes
Bone graft and bone graft substitutes have one or more of the following components:
Undifferentiated stem cells
Growth factors
Structural lattice
Undifferentiated stem cells are unspecialized, multipotential cells that can differentiate into a variety of specialized cells. They can also replicate themselves. The role of stem cells is to maintain and repair the tissue in which they are residing. A single stem cell can generate all cell types of that tissue. Bone marrow is a source of at least 2 kinds of stem cells. Hematopoietic stem cells that form all types of blood cells, and bone marrow stromal stem cells that have osteogenic properties and can generate bone, cartilage, and fibrous tissue.
Bone marrow has been used to stimulate bone formation in bone defects and cases of nonunion fractures. Bone marrow can be aspirated from the iliac crest and injected percutaneously with fluoroscopic guidance into the site of the nonunion fracture. The effectiveness of this technique depends on the number and activity of stem cells in the aspirated bone marrow. It may be possible to increase the proliferation and speed differentiation of stem cells by exposing them to growth factor or by combining them with collagen.
Many growth factors and cytokines induced in response to injury are believed to have a considerable role in the process of repair. Of the many bone growth factors studied, bone morphogenetics (BMPs) have generated the greatest attention because of their osteoinductive potential. The BMPs that have been most widely studied for their ability to induce bone regeneration in humans include BMP-2 and BMP-7 (osteogenic protein). Human osteogenic protein-1 (OP-1) has been cloned and produced with recombinant technology and is free from the risk of infection or allergic reaction.
The structural lattice is osteoconductive; it supports the ingrowth of developing capillaries and perivascular tissues. Three distinct groups of structural lattice have been identified: collagen, calcium sulphate, and calcium phosphate. These materials can be used to replace a lost segment of bone.
Grafts Used for Nonunion
Autologous bone graft is generally considered the gold standard and the best material for grafting because it contains several elements that are critical in promoting bone formation, including osteoprogenitor cells, the matrix, and bone morphogenetic proteins. The osteoconductive property of cancellous autograft is related to the porosity of bone. The highly porous, scaffold-like structure of the graft allows host osteoblasts and host osteoprogenitor cells to migrate easily into the area of the defect and to begin regeneration of bone. Sources of cancellous bone are the iliac crest, the distal femur, the greater trochanter, and the proximal tibia. However, harvesting the autologous bone graft is associated with postoperative pain at the donor site, potential injury to the surrounding arteries, nerves, and tissues, and the risk of infection. Thus the development of synthetic materials with osteoconductive and osteoinductive properties that can eliminate the need for harvesting has become a major goal of orthopedic research.
Allograft is the graft of tissue between individuals who are of the same species but are of a disparate genotype. Allograft has osteoconductive and limited osteoinductive properties. Demineralized bone matrix (DBM) is human cortical and cancellous allograft. These products are prepared by acid extraction of allograft bone, resulting in the loss of most of the mineralized component while collagen and noncollagenous proteins, including growth factors, are retained. Figures 1 to 5 demonstrate the osteogenic, osteoinduction, and osteoconduction properties of autologous bone graft, allograft, OP-1, bone graft substitutes, and bone marrow.
Autologous Bone Graft
Osteogenic Protein-1
Allograft bone and Demineralized Bone Matrix
Bone Graft Substitutes
Autologous Bone Marrow Graft
New Technology Being Reviewed: Osteogenic Protein-1
Health Canada issued a Class IV licence for OP-1 in June 2004 (licence number 36320). The manufacturer of OP-1 is Stryker Biotech (Hapkinton, MA).
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a humanitarian device exemption for the application of the OP-1 implant as an “alternative to autograft in recalcitrant long bone nonunions where use of autograft is unfeasible and alternative treatments have failed.” Regulatory agencies in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand have permitted the use of this implant in specific cases, such as in tibial nonunions, or in more general cases, such as in long bone nonunions.
According to the manufacturer, OP-1 is indicated for the treatment of long bone nonunions. It is contraindicated in the patient has a hypersensitivity to the active substance or collagen, and it should not be applied at the site of a resected tumour that is at or near the defect or fracture. Finally, it should not be used in patients who are skeletally immature (< 18 years of age), or if there is no radiological evidence of closure of epiphysis.
Review Strategy
Objective
To summarize the safety profile and effectiveness of OP-1 in the treatment of cases of long bone nonunion and bone defects
To compare the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of OP-1 in the treatment of long bone nonunions and bone defects with the alternative technologies, particularly the gold standard autologous bone graft.
Literature Search
International Network of Agencies for Health Technology Assessments (INAHTA), the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews and the CCTR (formerly Cochrane Controlled Trials Register) were searched for health technology assessments. MEDLINE, EMBASE, Medline In Process and Other Non-Indexed Citations were searched from January 1, 1996 to January 27, 2004 for studies on OP-1. The search was limited to English-language articles and human studies. The search yielded 47 citations. Three studies met inclusion criteria (2 RCTs and 1 Ontario-based study presented at an international conference.
Summary of Findings
Friedlaender et al. conducted a prospective, randomized, partially blinded clinical trial on the treatment tibial nonunions with OP-1. Tibial nonunions were chosen for this study because of their high frequency, challenging treatment requirements, and substantial morbidity. All of the nonunions were at least 9 months old and had shown no progress toward healing over the previous 3 months. The patients were randomized to receive either treatment with autologous bone grafting or treatment with OP-1 in a type-1 collagen carrier. Both groups received reduction and fixation with an intramedullary rod. Table 1 summarizes the clinical outcomes of this study.
Outcomes in a Randomized Clinical Trial on Tibial Nonunions: Osteogenic Protein-1 versus Autologous Bone Grafting
Clinical success was defined as full weight-bearing, loss of severe pain at the fracture site on weight-bearing, and no further surgical treatment to enhance fracture repair.
The results of this study demonstrated that recombinant OP-1 is associated with substantial clinical and radiographic success for the treatment of tibial nonunions when used with intramedullary rod fixation. No adverse event related to sensitization was reported. Five per cent of the patients in the OP-1 group had circulating antibodies against type 1 collagen. Only 10% of the patients had a low level of anti-OP-1 antibodies, and all effects were transient. Furthermore, the success rate with the OP-1 implant was comparable with those achieved with autograft at 9 and 24 months follow-up. Eighty-two per cent of patients were successful at 24 months follow-up in both groups.
Statistically significant increased blood loss in the group treated with the autograft was observed (P = .049). Patients treated with autograft had longer operation and hospitalization times. All patients in the autograft group had pain at the donor site after surgery, and more than 80% judged their postoperative pain as moderate or severe. At their 6-month visit, 20% of the patients in the autograft group had persistent pain, mild or moderate in nature, at the donor site. This number fell to 13% at 12 months.
All patients in each of the groups had at least 1 adverse event that wasn’t serious, such as fever, nausea and vomiting, leg edema, discomfort, and bruising at the operative site. The incidence of these events was similar in both groups. Serious adverse events were observed in 44% of both groups, none of which were considered related to the OP-1 implant or autograft.
On the basis of this data, the FDA issued a humanitarian device exemption for the application of OP-1 implant as an alternative to autograft in recalcitrant long bone nonunions when the use of autograft is unfeasible and alternative treatments have failed.
Study on Fibular Defects
Geesink et al. investigated the osteogenic activity of OP-1 by assessing its value in bridging fibular defects made at the time of tibial osteotomy for varus or valgus deformity of the knee. This study had 2 phases and included 12 patients in each phase. Each phase included 12 patients (6 in each group). Patients in the first phase received either DBM or were left untreated. Patients in the second phase received either OP-1 on collagen type-1 or collagen type-1 alone.
Radiological and Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA) evaluation showed that in patients in whom the defect was left untreated, no formation of bone occurred. At 12 months follow-up, new bone formation with bridging occurred in 4 of the 6 patients in DMB group, and 5 of the 6 patients in OP-1 group. One patient in OP-1 group did not show any evidence of new bone formation at any point during the study.
Ontario Pilot Study
A prospective pilot study was conducted in Ontario, Canada to investigate the safety and efficacy of OP-1 for the treatment of recalcitrant long bone nonunions. The study looked at 15 patients with complex, recalcitrant, long bone nonunions whose previous treatment had failed. The investigators concluded that this bone graft substitute appears to be safe and effective in providing sufficient biological stimulation in difficult to treat nonunions. Results of a more complete study on 70 patients are ready for publication. According to the principal investigator, OP-1 was 90% effective in inducing bone formation and bone healing in this sample.
Alternative Technologies
The Medical Advisory Secretariat conducted a literature search from January 1, 2000 to February 28, 2005 to identify studies on nonunions/bone defects that had been treated with alternative technologies. A review of these studies showed that, in addition to the gold standard autologous bone marrow grafting, bone allografts, demineralized bone matrices, bone graft substitutes, and autologous bone marrow have been used for treatment of nonunions and bone defects. These studies were categorized according to the osteoinductive, osteoconductive, and osteogenesis properties of the technologies studied.
A review of these studies showed that bone allografts have been used mostly in various reconstruction procedures to restore the defect after excavating a bone lesion. Two studies investigated the effectiveness of DBM in healing fracture nonunions. Calcium phosphate and calcium sulphate have been used mostly for repair of bone defects.
Several investigators have looked at the use of autologous bone marrow for treatment of long bone nonunions. The results of these studies show that method of percutaneous bone marrow grafting is highly effective in the treatment of long bone nonunions. In a total of 301 fractures across all studies, 268 (89%) healed with a mean healing time of 2.5 to 8 months. This healing time as derived from these case series is less than the timing of the primary end point in Friedlaender’s study (9 months). Table 2 summarizes the results of these studies. Table 2 summarizes the results of these studies.
Studies that used Percutaneous Bone Marrow Grafting for Treatment of Nonunions
Economic Analysis
Based on annual estimated incidence of long-bone nonunion of 3,863 - 7,725, the annual hospitalization costs associated with this condition is between $21.2 and $42.3 million based on a unit cost of $5,477 per hospital separation. When utilized, the device, a single vial of OP-1, is approximately $5,000 and if adopted universally in Ontario, the total device costs would be in the range of $19.3 - $38.6 million annually. The physician fee for harvest, insertion of bone, or OP-1 is $193 and is $193 for autologous bone marrow transplantation. Total annual physician costs are expected to be in the range of from $0.7 million to $1.3 million per year. Expenditures associated with long-bone nonunion are unlikely to increase since incidence of long-bone nonunion is unlikely to change in the future. However, the rate of uptake of OP-1 could have a significant impact on costs if the uptake were large.
The use of OP-1 and autologous bone marrow transplantation may offset pain medication costs compared with those associated with autologous bone harvest given that the former procedures do not involve the pain associated with the bone harvest site. However, given that this pain is normally not permanent, the overall offset is likely to be small. There are likely to be smaller OHIP costs associated with OP-1 than bone-harvest procedures given that only 1, rather than 2, incisions are needed when comparing the former with the latter procedure. This offset could amount to between $0.3 million to $0.7 million annually.
No data on the cost-effectiveness of OP-1 is available.
PMCID: PMC3382627  PMID: 23074475
24.  Acute-Phase Serum Amyloid A: An Inflammatory Adipokine and Potential Link between Obesity and Its Metabolic Complications 
PLoS Medicine  2006;3(6):e287.
Background
Obesity is associated with low-grade chronic inflammation, and serum markers of inflammation are independent risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, the molecular and cellular mechanisms that link obesity to chronic inflammation and CVD are poorly understood.
Methods and Findings
Acute-phase serum amyloid A (A-SAA) mRNA levels, and A-SAA adipose secretion and serum levels were measured in obese and nonobese individuals, obese participants who underwent weight-loss, and persons treated with the insulin sensitizer rosiglitazone. Inflammation-eliciting activity of A-SAA was investigated in human adipose stromal vascular cells, coronary vascular endothelial cells and a murine monocyte cell line. We demonstrate that A-SAA was highly and selectively expressed in human adipocytes. Moreover, A-SAA mRNA levels and A-SAA secretion from adipose tissue were significantly correlated with body mass index ( r = 0.47; p = 0.028 and r = 0.80; p = 0.0002, respectively). Serum A-SAA levels decreased significantly after weight loss in obese participants ( p = 0.006), as well as in those treated with rosiglitazone ( p = 0.033). The magnitude of the improvement in insulin sensitivity after weight loss was significantly correlated with decreases in serum A-SAA ( r = −0.74; p = 0.034). SAA treatment of vascular endothelial cells and monocytes markedly increased the production of inflammatory cytokines, e.g., interleukin (IL)-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor alpha, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1. In addition, SAA increased basal lipolysis in adipose tissue culture by 47%.
Conclusions
A-SAA is a proinflammatory and lipolytic adipokine in humans. The increased expression of A-SAA by adipocytes in obesity suggests that it may play a critical role in local and systemic inflammation and free fatty acid production and could be a direct link between obesity and its comorbidities, such as insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. Accordingly, improvements in systemic inflammation and insulin resistance with weight loss and rosiglitazone therapy may in part be mediated by decreases in adipocyte A-SAA production.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Obesity often alters an individual's overall metabolism, which in turn leads to complications like diabetes, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (disease of the heart and blood vessels, such as stroke or heart attacks). Having established a strong link between inflammation and cardiovascular disease, scientists now think that obesity might cause persistent low-level inflammation, and that this is the reason for the cardiovascular problems seen in many obese people. By better understanding the links between obesity, inflammation, and cardiovascular disease, the hope is that scientists may be able to find medications that can be given to obese people to reduce their risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Why Was This Study Done?
Previous research had suggested that a substance in the blood called A-SAA, which is raised by inflammation, might be a “missing link” between inflammation and cardiovascular disease, since an individual's baseline level of A-SAA is associated with the risk for cardiovascular disease (in other words, the higher the A-SAA, the higher the risk of cardiovascular disease). In the new study, researchers wanted to know whether the reason that obese people have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease is because they have higher blood levels of A-SAA.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
They found that obese people had higher levels of A-SAA in their blood. A-SAA appears to be produced in fat cells (or adipocytes) and then released into the blood. Obese people have higher numbers of fat cells, which could by itself account for the higher blood levels of A-SAA, but the researchers also found that the average fat cell from an obese individual produces and secretes higher levels of A-SAA than fat cells from lean individuals. When the researchers studied people who underwent weight loss, they found that A-SAA levels fell in response to weight loss, and this was associated with improvements in their metabolism. They then studied obese individuals who received the diabetes drug rosiglitazone (which is known to reduce inflammation). They found that even though these individuals did not lose weight, their A-SAA levels dropped as their metabolism improved. Trying to get at the mechanisms by which A-SAA might cause inflammation and diabetes, the researchers found that exposure to A-SAA can stimulate the activation of proinflammation molecules in a number of different cells, including blood vessel cells. It can also stimulate cells to break down fat stores and release fats, which could lead to metabolic complications and ultimately contribute to diabetes.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Together with similar results from other studies, the findings here suggest that A-SAA could promote inflammation, and that elevated levels of A-SAA in obese individuals could contribute to the chronic low-level inflammatory state that puts them at higher risk for cardiovascular complications. The authors speculate that drugs that reduce the blood levels of A-SAA might be useful as treatments for obese patients (to lower their risk of heart attacks and strokes). However, as they acknowledge, additional studies are needed to establish that A-SAA is indeed a causal link between obesity and inflammation and whether it plays a major role before it could be considered a promising drug target.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030287.
• MedlinePlus pages on obesity and cardiovascular disease
• US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pages on obesity and cardiovascular disease
• Wikipedia pages on obesity and cardiovascular disease (note: Wikipedia is a free Internet encyclopedia that anyone can edit)
Higher levels of Acute-phase serum amyloid A (A-SAA), a proinflammatory adipokine, in obese individuals may contribute to the chronic low-level inflammatory state that puts them at higher risk for cardiovascular complications.
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0030287
PMCID: PMC1472697  PMID: 16737350
25.  Bone marrow and umbilical cord blood human mesenchymal stem cells: state of the art 
Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent adult stem cells present in all tissues, as part of the perivascular population. As multipotent cells, MSCs can differentiate into different tissues originating from mesoderm ranging from bone and cartilage, to cardiac muscle. MSCs are an excellent candidate for cell therapy because they are easily accessible, their isolation is straightforward, they can be bio-preserved with minimal loss of potency, and they have shown no adverse reactions to allogeneic versus autologous MSCs transplants. Therefore, MSCs are being explored to regenerate damaged tissue and treat inflammation, resulting from cardiovascular disease and myo-cardial infarction (MI), brain and spinal cord injury, stroke, diabetes, cartilage and bone injury, Crohn's disease and graft versus host disease (GvHD). Most of the application and clinical trials involve MSCs from bone marrow (BMMSCs). Transplantation of MSCs from bone marrow is considered safe and has been widely tested in clinical trials of cardiovascular, neurological, and immunological disease with encouraging results. There are examples of MSCs utilization in the repair of kidney, muscle and lung. The cells were also found to promote angiogenesis, and were used in chronic skin wound treatment. Recent studies involve also mesenchymal stem cell transplant from umbilical cord (UCMSCt). One of these demonstrate that UCMSCt may improve symptoms and biochemical values in patients with severe refractory systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and therefore this source of MSCs need deeper studies and require more attention. However, also if there are 79 registered clinical trial sites for evaluating MSC therapy throughout the world, it is still a long way to go before using these cells as a routinely applied therapy in clinics.
PMCID: PMC2971538  PMID: 21072260
Umbilical cord blood; mesenchymal stem cells; regenerative medicine; cell therapy; umbilical cord blood banking

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