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Stem Cells may Heal Heart Muscle

July 27th 2005

Stem Cell Research may cure damaged heart from attack

Stem Cells
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John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore will be conducting stem cell research to determine if hearts damaged from heart attack can be healed with therapy.  Two patients have enrolled in the study and 46 more are expected to take part all across the country. 

Earlier studies with pigs showed promise according to Hospital Officials “Final results of a study conducted at Johns Hopkins show that stem cell therapy can be used effectively to treat heart attacks, or myocardial infarction, in pigs.  In just two months, stem cells harvested from another pig’s bone marrow and injected into the animal’s damaged heart restored heart function and repaired damaged heart muscle by 50 percent to 75 percent. “

The new trial will test the safety of injecting adult stem cells at varying doses in patients who have recently suffered a heart attack.  The study results are expected out in Mid 2006. 


 “Ultimately, the goal is to develop a widely applicable treatment to repair and reverse the damage done to heart muscle that has been infarcted, or destroyed, after losing its blood supply,” says cardiologist Joshua Hare, M.D.  Joshua is professor of medicine at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and its Heart Institute, and senior author of the study and lead trial investigator. 

According to the doctor, “There is reason for optimism about these findings, possibly leading to a first-ever cure for heart attack in humans.  If a treatment can be found for the damage done by a heart attack to heart muscle, then there is the potential to forestall the serious complications that traditionally result from a heart attack, including disturbances of heart rhythm that can lead to sudden cardiac death, and decreased muscle pumping function that can lead to congestive heart failure.”

The researchers will be using a special kind of stem cell in an early stage of development, called adult mesenchymal stem cells, to avoid potential problems with immunosuppression.   Other stem cells might cause an immune response where the immune system might attack stem cells from sources other than itself.  

There is national debate on Stem Cell Research, especially when stem cells are taken from embryos.  Stem cells taken from adult bone marrow do not have the same potential to develop into different organ tissues, as do embryonic stem cells.

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:40 PM