Stem cell therapy can repair damaged hearts

Stem cell therapy has shown positive results in patients with heart injuries, who have had their hearts partially restored, researchers said in a laboratory study presented Tuesday at the American heart association meeting.

The American college of cardiology conference is currently underway in Chicago. Researchers at the Texas heart institute presented new research at the conference showing that stem cell therapy can restore the ability of a dead heart to pump blood. In the three-year study, the researchers studied 92 patients with severe chronic heart disease whose average age was 63. These patients had a history of angina or heart failure, pumping less than 45 percent of their normal function. Because of their serious illness, they were unable to receive coronary stents and other operations.

In the study, the researchers divided them into two groups, one using a placebo and the other using stem cell therapy. In stem cell therapy, researchers extract stem cells from their own bone marrow and inject them into the left ventricle.

The results showed that compared with the placebo group, stem cell therapy improved the ability to pump blood by an average of 2.7% and restored some previously dead heart functions. The researchers said the study, the largest to date to treat heart disease with stem cell therapy, is a new approach to treating chronic heart disease, particularly left ventricular dysfunction.
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