A University of Miami patient who participated in the Miller School of Medicine’s stem cell program learned Thursday that he has been receiving active treatment.
Rodolfo Hernandez, who had open heart surgery in 2008, was the first patient to participate in the program. He was injected with a study agent – a placebo or stem cells – that neither he nor doctors knew was the real thing.
Thursday’s announcement was a huge step forward for UM’s doctors.
“We’ve been very excited by the possibility that this could work and we’ve been working on this for over 10 years now, first testing it in experimental models and then doing clinical trials, so this is a very big year for us because we can start telling people whether they got cells or not,” said Dr. Joshua Hare, a director at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine.
When the results were read, Hernandez, who has been spending his time fishing, let out a big sigh.
“I feel very good,” he said.
The stem cell breakthrough is part of the first wave of results. The school is expecting the development of new and more improved stem cells within the next five to 10 years.
Hare said the school is expected to develop more powerful ways to make cells that can regenerate the heart muscle.