The United States and many other countries face a daunting challenge in the years ahead – how to deal with the consequences of a rapidly expanding population of older individuals that will require an increasing amount of healthcare intervention and resources. As we age, we become more susceptible to a variety of aging related diseases and conditions, including heart disease, stroke, vascular disease and a range of other conditions. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that individuals over the age of 65 spend up to ten times as much on healthcare annually when compared to young healthy individuals – and much of this is a direct consequence of aging related diseases and conditions. Increasing rates of obesity, a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer, is another significant influence.

In a recent analysis published by the American Heart Association (AHA) published in the journal Circulation, it was projected that the economic costs of treating heart disease are expected to triple from $273 billion in 2010 to a more than $818 billion by the year 2030. This analysis excludes the $175 billion that is presently lost annually due to diminished productivity – a figure that is projected to increase to $276 billion in the same time frame. The increasing number of “baby boomers” that are reaching their “golden years” are contributing to these increasing costs in an escalating manner. The number of individuals age 65 and older is expected to increase from 40 million in 2010 to more than 72 million by 2030 – an increase of approximately 80%.

Innovative technologies like MultiStem could enable more effective treatment of damage from cardiovascular disease, by helping to repair damage following a heart attack, treating vascular disease, or congestive heart failure, or other conditions. We and our collaborators are focused on exploring the potential application of MultiStem to treat these and other conditions, which represent substantial areas of unmet medical need. Our first clinical study in the cardiovascular area involved administration to patients that had suffered an acute myocardial infarction.