New hope for heart patients

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Indy Lifestyle Online

People dying from cardiovascular disease could stay alive for many years longer after the first clinical evidence was revealed yesterday that hearts can be repaired using bone-marrow stem cells.

People dying from cardiovascular disease could stay alive for many years longer after the first clinical evidence was revealed yesterday that hearts can be repaired using bone-marrow stem cells.

US scientists compared two groups of heart bypass patients, one of which was treated with stem cells taken from their hip bones. Six months later, the hearts of the stem-cell group were pumping more blood than those of patients who had surgery alone. Professor Robert Kormos, who heads the University of Pittsburgh team which led the study, said: "It will revolutionise our approach, which is largely palliative, to one that is truly regenerative."

Stem cells are immature cells that can be programmed to become different kinds of tissue. Studies show that certain stem cells taken from bone marrow have the potential to influence heart muscle and blood vessel growth.

The findings were presented at a meeting in Toronto of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery.

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