Study Examines Effect of Timing of Cell Therapy Following Heart Attack


Jay H. Traverse, M.D., of the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis, and colleagues investigated the influence of timing of cardiovascular cell delivery within the first week after a heart attack on improving left ventricular (LV) function following reperfusion.

“Cell therapy may eventually become a therapeutic option for patients following acute myocardial infarction [AMI; heart attack], potentially preventing the transition to end-stage heart failure where cardiac transplantation is currently the only curative procedure available,” the authors write. “However, despite a growing number of trials, many fundamental questions such as optimal timing of bone marrow mononuclear cell (BMC) delivery remain unanswered.”

Between July 2008 and November 2011, 120 patients were enrolled in the TIME trial, which included patients with LV dysfunction following successful primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI; procedures such as balloon angioplasty or stent placement used to open narrowed coronary arteries) of anterior ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI; a certain pattern on an electrocardiogram following a heart attack). Patients received intracoronary infusion of BMCs or placebo, administered at day 3 or day 7 post-PCI. Patient average age was 57 years; 88 percent were male.

“To our knowledge, TIME is the first cardiovascular cell therapy trial that was specifically designed to determine whether the timing of BMC administration after primary PCI influences LV functional recovery. There was no overall effect of BMC treatment on this ongoing improvement at 6 months vs. placebo despite previous supportive clinical data.  Additionally, the day of cell delivery did not demonstrate an effect on the recovery of LV function or on LV volumes or infarct size [damaged area of heart],” the researchers conclude.

(doi:10.1001/jama. 2012.28726;. Available pre-embargo to the media at

Media Advisory: This study is being released early online to coincide with its presentation at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions. To contact corresponding author Judy Bettencourt, M.P.H., call Deborah Mann Lake at 713-500-3304 or email

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