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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Boston Globe Health and Science staff:
Karen Weintraub, Deputy Health and Science Editor, and Gideon Gil, Health and Science Editor.
Short White Coat blogger Ishani Ganguli
Short White Coat blogger Jennifer Srygley
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Former St. E's cardiologist experimented on himself
While chief of cardiovascular research at Caritas St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, a doctor now at Northwestern tested a stem-cell extraction technique on himself before going ahead with an experiment to transplant patients' stem cells into their hearts, the Chicago Sun Times reports today.
Dr. Douglas Losordo (left, in 2002 Globe photo) moved to Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in December 2006. The pilot study began in 2003 while he was a professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine and a cardiologist at St. Elizabeth's.
Losordo did not go on to have stem cells injected via catheter into his heart. Before the small trial to test safety began, he took a drug for five days that boosted production of stem cells in his bloodstream and then had them removed and purified in a process similar to dialysis, the story says.
"I wanted to see what it would be like for patients before I subjected them to the procedure," he told the Sun Times.
The study subjects all had severe angina, or chest pain, that could not be treated by surgery, stents or angioplasty. The group of patients who received stem cells injected into heart muscle that was not receiving blood flow reported fewer angina attacks over six months than the group of patients who underwent catheterization, but did not receive stem cells, the story said.
The results appear in the June 26 issue of Circulation.