View Full Version : Simple stem cell jab helps boost fitness in heart disease patients

04-18-2013, 01:55 PM
By: Jo WilleyPublished: Fri, April 12, 2013

A STEM cell injection could soon be available to cure heart disease after scientists tested the revolutionary new treatment in patients for the first time.

The heart failure breakthrough involves injecting patients with their own stem cells.

The quick and easy procedure saw doctors take bone marrow from the patients’ hips before injecting them directly into the heart to strengthen the muscle.

Heart pumping function improved within six months for every patient given the ground-breaking treatment. They also enjoyed improved fitness and could walk longer distances.

The trial offers new hope to the tens of thousands of people struck down by heart failure each year in the UK and could transform the lives of millions suffering the after-effects of a heart attack.

The research, published online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, took place at the Mayo Clinic’s Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota.

Lead researcher Dr Andre Terzic said: “I think it’s an exciting time where regenerative medicine is no longer science fiction. This study is providing clinical evidence for a new approach in cardiovascular regenerative medicine.”

In the trial, 45 heart failure patients were treated with a special type of stem cell harvested from the top of the patient’s hip.

Researchers used proteins to instruct the stem cells to behave like heart cells and then injected them into the patient’s heart.

All patients saw greater improvements in their heart health than another group given the standard treatments for heart failure. The amount of blood pumped out with each heartbeat increased by a dramatic seven per cent. Professor Peter Weissberg, of the British Heart Foundation, said: “More research is needed to identify just what it is in these cells that causes this effect."