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Damaged Hearts Healed Using Stem Cells

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Stem cells from bone marrow can heal patients' decade-old heart attack scars, according to an ongoing study at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Thus far, eight patients, men with an average age of 57, have received this treatment, all of which have suffered prior heart attacks anywhere from four months to eleven years. All patients also had enormously large hearts with areas of scar tissue.

"These are chronic heart failure patients . . . with really bad [heart attack damage] and big [heart attack] scars," study leader Joshua Hare, MD, tells WebMD. "We wanted to see if the cells would heal the scarred area and allow it to start working again."

Researchers harvested bone marrow progenitor cells from four of the patients and adult stem cells from four others. Using a catheter, the cells were then injected into the walls of the patient's hearts. Within a span of three months, the scarred areas of the patient's hearts began to work again, and after six months and for a year following, all eight hearts regained a normal size.

by RTT Staff Writer

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