Newly Published Data Highlights the Potential of Placenta-based Cell Therapy in Protecting the Heart Affected by Diabetes

Results from a peer-reviewed study in the peer-reviewed journal STEM CELLS Translational Medicine. showed that treating the heart with placenta-based cell therapy called PLX cells, led to improved diastolic function by significantly decreasing cardiomyocyte stiffness, endothelial inflammation, and improving vascularization in preclinical studies. The study’s authors believe the study holds the promise that PLX cells could potentially treat cardiac damage in diabetic patients, particularly in early-stage diabetic cardiomyopathy.

The article, titled “Placenta-derived adherent stromal cells improve diabetes mellitus-associated left ventricular diastolic performance”, highlights the ability of PLX cells, created by Haifa-based Pluristem Therapeutics, to significantly improve cardiac function and describes the underlying mechanism of action. Investigators from the Berlin-Brandenburg Center for Regenerative Therapies, (BCRT) and the Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany, led by Professor Carsten Tschöpe led the study.  Dr. Tschöpe is also a member of the Translational Research Committee of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology.

Diastolic heart failure or diastolic dysfunction refers to a decline in performance of one or both ventricles of the heart during diastole, when the heart is filling with blood. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute reports that approximately 4.8 million Americans suffer from heart failure, with approximately 400,000 new cases appearing annually. Additionally, it has been reported that 50% of these heart failure patients are afflicted with diastolic heart failure (Curr Cardiol Rep, 2017). Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction and Future Pharmacological Strategies: a Glance in the Crystal Ball. Tschöpe C, Van Linthout S, Kherad B. Curr Cardiol Rep. 2017 Aug;19(8):70

In the study, diabetes mellitus was induced in immune competent mice by streptozotocin application during 5 subsequent days. Seven days after the first streptozotocin injection, animals were intravenously (IV) treated with either PLX cells or saline (placebo). Cardiac parameters were assessed two weeks later. The treatment using PLX cells led to improved diastolic function as indicated by the heart-rate independent 1.2-fold (p<0.005) lower time constant of LV relaxation parameter Tau and the 1.2-fold (p<0.05) increase of the relaxation parameter dP/dtmin.

“Currently, there are limited treatment options for diastolic dysfunction and even fewer for diabetes-induced diastolic dysfunction,” said Dr. Tschöpe. “This study holds promise that PLX cells could potentially treat cardiac damage in diabetic patients, particularly in early-stage diabetic cardiomyopathy. PLX cells are particularly well suited for this indication because they can be used without the need for tissue matching or immunosuppression.”

“Diabetes-induced diastolic dysfunction is a chronic disease that represents a large unmet need. In this study, PLX cells were able to improve cardiac function when administered by simple IV injection. This opens a potentially new method for an effective, low risk treatment for diastolic dysfunction,” said Zami Aberman, Chairman and Co-CEO of Pluristem. “These new data, combined with findings published in the Journal of Surgical Research, which showed that PLX cells were effective in treating cardiac ischemia, suggest that PLX cells have the potential to address a wide range of cardiac disorders.”