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Bone Marrow Stem Cells Heal Heart Attack Scars

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Bone Marrow Stem Cells Heal Heart Attack Scars

Scientist treat decade old heart attack scars with bone marrow stem cells…

Scientists have shown how stem cells taken from a patient’s bone marrow can be used to heal decade-old scars due to the heart attacks. The ongoing clinical trial involves eight patients with an average age of 57, all of whom have been victims of heart attacks from four months to eleven years prior to the study. All study participants had dangerously enlarged hearts with areas of scar tissue.

Bone marrow progenitor cells were taken from four of the patients; adult stem cells were taken from the remaining four. These cells were then injected into the walls of the patient’s hearts using a catheter.

Joshua Hare, MD, and lead researcher of the team at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, told WebMD:

These are chronic heart failure patients with really bad [heart attack damage] and big [heart attack] scars…

We wanted to see if the cells would heal the scarred area and allow it to start working again. [WebMD]

Within just three months, the scarred areas of the hearts began to work again. Six months later, all eight patient’s hearts had reduced in size by 15-20 percent – 3 times more effective than current treatments.

Heart stem cell expert Arshed Quyyumi, MD, professor of medicine and cardiology at Atlantas Emory University, noted that although this isn’t the first time stem cells have been shown to aid tissue regeneration, it is the first time someone has proved them to be effective in treating end-stage heart failure.

Arshed Quyyumi, MD, professor of medicine and cardiology at Atlantas Emory University, who was not involved in the study, praised the work but noted that much more research needed to be carried out in order to confirm the findings.

Nevertheless, contrary to popular belief, the results have shown that bone marrow derived cells may have the ability to regenerate.

The study appears in the March 17 online edition of the journal Circulation Research.


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