Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Heart's Stem Cells Used to Mend Attack Damage

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Heart's Stem Cells Used to Mend Attack Damage

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO -- Stem cells grown from patients' own cardiac tissue can heal damage once thought to be permanent after a heart attack, according to a study that suggests the experimental approach may one day help stave off heart failure.

In a trial of 25 heart-attack patients, 17 who got the stem cell treatment showed a 50 percent reduction in cardiac scar tissue compared with no improvement for the eight who received standard care. The results were published Tuesday in the medical journal Lancet.

The study, by researchers from Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, tested the approach in patients who recently suffered a heart attack, with the goal that repairing the damage might help stave off failure. While patients getting the stem cells showed no more improvement in heart function than those who didn't get the experimental therapy, the theory is that new tissue regenerated by the stem cells can strengthen the heart, said Eduardo Marban, the study's lead author and director of Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. …

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