(KCPW News) A clinical trial using adult stem cells that's the first of its kind has begun at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray. The goal is to prevent or repair kidney damage that can occur after open-heart surgery by taking bone marrow stem cells and injecting them into the bloodstream, where they are carried to a patient's kidney. Salt Lake City-based biotech company AlloCure is partnering with Intermountain Medical Center to conduct the study. Christof Westenfelder, chief medical officer for AlloCure, says it's the best treatment to help kidney failure and disease.
"This cell based therapy is superior to all the other therapies because the cells interpret correctly what is going on and fix it, and after they have fixed it they say okay we are done, leaving, we can now destroy ourselves. When you give a drug that is very different. When you give a drug, you know the drug has effects all over the place. These cells only go to sites where you have a problem," Westenfelder said.
Westenfelder notes the kidney often suffers damage after open-heart surgery, and says this new procedure could help prevent kidney injury.
Cardiovascular surgeon John Doty will be conducting the trial and says this technique could be used in many different ways.
"If this works, and we think it will, this is something that can address all kinds of acute injury in any organ, so it's limitless I would say," Doty said.
The trial is in its first phase, which uses 15 healthy patients. In the second phase, which they hope to start in the spring, they'll use patients who are at high risk for kidney problems.