In the Cardiology Stem Cell Center, located in Copenhagen Science City, Danish researchers are taking giant leaps to improve patient treatment and reduce waiting time significantly.
Imagine a new medical product that can reduce patient waiting time from 6 weeks to 5 minutes. A treatment that can be part of the solution to coronary artery disease that accounts for 40% of all deaths in the European Union. Research into this treatment is being done in Copenhagen, where steps are now being taken to move production from the laboratory to patients.
Stem cells taken from bone marrow and fatty tissue from the stomach have been used as a form of treatment for patients suffering from coronary artery disease. This is a popular but unfortunately also slow process. Stem cells only exist in small quantities in tissue, which is why these cells must be cultured for six to eight weeks before they are ready to be used in treatment.
However, Jens Kastrup and his colleagues from the Cardiology Stem Cell Center at Rigshospitalet, located centrally in Copenhagen Science City, have recently taken enormous steps on the way to new and more effective treatment of coronary artery disease. With their innovative research, the Danish team has used the latest technology to culture stem cells from healthy donors in bioreactors. This technological leap means that stem cells can be frozen and defrozen, ultimately reducing the waiting time of patients from six weeks to five minutes.
Over recent years, the technology has reached Phase II testing, in which researchers expose a large group of patients to the treatment. Now is the time to complete Phase II trials and enter Phase III, in which the product is given to an even larger group of patients. This preparation for the next phase is supported by Innovation Fund Denmark that is investing 25 million DKK in the new treatment.
“Strong cooperation with partners from the business community will bring production of Danish stem cells to the forefront and to the market, and ultimately improve treatment and quality of life for patients suffering from chronic heart disease. The good results we have achieved in the Phase I and II trials strengthen my confidence that, with this new grant, we will be ready to take the last step to bring stem-cell production from the laboratory to the patient, and we will do this together with our partners”, says Jens Kastrup, Consultant and Head of the Cardiology Stem Cell Center at Rigshospitalet, located in Copenhagen Science City.
With the new grant and the support of their partners, Jens Kastrup and his team will continue developing the new stem cell technology. The goal is to get the method of treatment approved for general patient treatment, in order to reduce patient discomfort, increase quality of life and ultimately increase survival rates.