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broken heart

"Broken hearts" could be healed with stem cells

A study by American doctors showed that scar tissue mass that occurred after a heart attack could be reduced after treatment with the patient’s own stem cells.

SCAR TISSUE OCCURRING because of heart attacks could be reduced using stem cells, a new study has found.

The Lancet medical journal reports today that the stem cells, which came from the patients themselves, were used in the randomised trial.

Thirty-one patients were enrolled in the trial, two— four weeks after a heart attack, at two medical centres in the USA. The trial ran between May 5, 2009, and December 16 2010.

The cells grown from biopsy specimens were infused into an artery 1.5 – three months after the heart attack.

Compared with controls at 6 months, MRI analysis of patients treated with the stem cells showed reductions in scar mass and increases in viable heart mass, as well as regional systolic wall thickening.

The team behind the study say their findings show that it warrants  a phase two study.

The study was funded by the US National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Heart Stem Cell Center.

BBC News reports that researcher Dr Eduardo Marban said that the team had managed to dissolve scars and regrow lost heart muscle, which had never been done before in humans.

Read: Medics drop heart being rushed for transplant>