London, Jan 19 : According to a new study, modification of the immune system of a patient with heart failure, cuts down the risk of the patient's death and the need for hospitalisation.
The study, led by Dr. Guillermo Torre-Amione, cardiologist at the Methodist DeBakey Heart Centre in Houston, stated that immune modulation therapy could provide a new way of treatment for patients with heart failure.
"Immune modulation therapy could provide physicians with a new way of treating large numbers of patients with heart failure," said Torre.
The activation of the immune system in patients with systolic heart failure boosts the concentration of molecules, which can injure the heart in a way that leads to heart failure.
The finding reveals that modification of this immune response is an appealing potential therapy for many patients with heart failure.
The technique involves intentionally damaging some of the patient's blood cells to trick the body into producing anti-inflammatory cells, which heal the damaged heart.
"While further research is needed, the ability to change or modulate the patient's immune response has now been shown to be attainable as well as successful in treating certain stages of heart failure," the Lancet quoted Torre, as saying.
In the study, the research team conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of a device-based IMT on 2,246 patients.
All the patients had New York Heart Association (NYHA) functional class II-IV chronic heart failure, left ventricular systolic dysfunction, and hospitalisation for heart failure or intravenous drug therapy in an outpatient setting within the past 12 months.
1,213 patients were randomised to receive IMT or 1,213 patients were randomised to receive placebo.
The study went on until all patients had been treated for at least 22 weeks. The primary endpoint was death (from any cause) or subsequent first hospitalisation for cardiovascular reasons.
During a mean follow-up of 10.2 months, there were 399 primary events in the IMT group and 429 in the placebo group, giving a reduction of risk in the IMT group of 8 percent.
However, in two prespecified subgroups of patients - those with no history of heart attack (919) and those with NYHA II heart failure (619), IMT was associated with a 26 percent and 39 percent reduction in the risk of primary events, respectively.
The study is published in the Lancet.