Scientists Move Closer to Repairing Damaged Hearts Using Patientâ€™s Own Body
A major study by Baxter Inc has shown promising results in the effort to repair damaged hearts using stem cells from the patientâ€™s own body. The stem cells are harvested and injected into the heart muscle where they are able to grew blood vessels and develop into new heart tissue.
So far, the treatment has shown no side effects. However the process of injecting the stems cells into the heart requires open heart surgery, which has a 1% chance of perforating the heart. Researchers are looking into other ways of delivering stems cells to the heart by injecting them into other muscles or through an IV into a vein.
Estimates are that the new treatments could be available to patients within 3-5 years. The stem cell process is considered appropriate for cardiac patients who have exhausted all other options. There are between 300,000 and 900,000 people who would be eligible for the procedure.
Because the stem cells used in cardiac treatment are harvested from the patient or from another adult donating to a stem cell bank, the controversy over embryonic stem cells does not apply to this research.
Dr. Douglas Losordo, a cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, who is leading the trial says, â€œIt’s important to point out that this is a use of a patient’s own body’s repair capabilities.”