View Full Version : Oak Park stem cell recipient gets good news

01-19-2010, 02:43 PM
Oak Park stem cell recipient gets good news
By Kim Lamb Gregory
Published Monday, January 18, 2010

The results of the clinical trial won?t be available for at least a year, but the Oak Park man who was the first human to get an infusion of his own cardiac stem cells has gotten some positive news in his six-month checkup.

Ken Milles, 39, who described himself as a man who ?is not a brave person,? made medical history when he agreed to be the first of 24 patients to undergo a clinical trial conducted through the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles. Cedars is conducting the investigative study in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md.

?They got the results back. They told me they?re pleased with everything, but they can?t be specific with me,? Milles said. ?They?re looking forward to seeing how the rest of the group is doing.?

An otherwise healthy Milles had a heart attack on May 24, 2009. Two days later, he had a procedure in which pieces of his healthy heart tissue were extracted through a tube in his neck artery. The pieces, which together are about the size of a raisin, were taken to a stem cell laboratory where they were put through a procedure that researchers are having patented. In four to six weeks, about 10 million to 25 million stem cells had grown in the lab and were implanted in Milles? heart through an artery in his groin.

Scientists hope the cardiac stem cells will coax the heart to grow new tissue in damaged areas.

?This procedure signals a new and exciting era in the understanding and treatment of heart disease,? said Eduardo Marban, the cardiologist heading up the study.

Twenty-three other people with heart damage went through the same procedure. Like Milles, they will all now get a checkup to see if the experiment is working the way researchers had hoped.

Cedars-Sinai spokeswoman Sally Stewart said not much information will be available until the researchers have carefully completed the scientific procedure required in a clinical study.

?We?re pleased, but we can?t go into details because, when it comes to conducting science appropriately, we need to go through the entire process,? she said. ?There are more people in the trial who have not yet gone all the way through the process.?

As for Milles, the married father of two said he?s ?doing OK.?

?I don?t feel any different. I?ve been taking care of myself, eating right, staying active and taking medication,? he said, adding that he does believe in moderation. ?I try to do things within reason.?