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UF Health develops new research to fight heart disease

Just 14 months ago, even taking a few steps could have landed Chuck Cummins in the hospital.
Promising research being done to fight heart disease at UF Health Jacksonville

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Just 14 months ago, even taking a few steps could have landed Chuck Cummins in the hospital.

"I couldn't walk to the mail box 100 feet away," says Cummins.

In 2002 he had a quadruple bypass, but his heart disease progressed. 12 years, 14 heart catheterizations and five stints later, he still had chest pain.

"The doctors said to me there is nothing else surgically we can do for you, the only hope you have is there is a stem cell trial and we are hoping we can get you into it," tells Cummins.

Dr. Dominick Angiolillo with UF Health Jacksonville got Chuck into the double blind study. A double blind study means the doctor and the patient don't know if the patient is receiving stem cells or just a placebo.

"The only way we can strive for better healthcare and improving outcomes is actually conducting the research. So definitely I am a very strong advocate for being a part of these clinical trials," says Dr. Angiolillo.

The stem cells possibly used would be Chuck's own cells taken from his bone marrow.

"They tell me that I am going to be, or hopefully going to be, growing new arteries on the outside of my heart and this is like Star Trek medicine! So I am pretty excited that I am feeling great," tells Chuck with a smile.

He hasn't had chest pain in four months and the biggest change of all is that he will be walking a mile in the Heart Walk coming up in a week. Of course, Dr. Angiolillo says they will not find out if Chuck got the placebo or the stem cells until June, but he is pleased to see Chuck doing so well.

"We do need to keep in mind that these are double blind studies, they are investigational trials. What is important is that we are giving opportunities and hope to patients that do not have other treatment options," says Dr. Angiolillo.

The Heart Walk is coming up September 20th. If you would like to join Chuck's team follow the link below. All the money goes towards helping research and fight heart disease.


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