Trial Of Heart Attack Stem Cell Treatment

by Malc on September 27, 2011

Trial Of Heart Attack Stem Cell Treatment

Trial Of Heart Attack Stem Cell Treatment (Wikipedia)

Stem cells are being tested to improve the success rate of certain heart attack treatments.

If a blocked artery causes a heart attack, a common treatment is to insert a stent – a hollow tube – into the artery to re-enable the blood flow. The problem is that the insertion of the stent can cause tissue damage. By introducing large numbers of stem cells to the area at the same time it is expected that the healing process will be faster and better.

The difference with this trial is that when the stem cells are needed there is no time to grow the patient’s own stem cells – to avoid rejection by the immune system. Australian company Mesoblast has overcome that problem by growing a specific kind of stem cell found in bone marrow which does not trigger an immune response. In other words, they can be introduced into anyone’s body without fear of rejection.

These stem cells are also not embryonic stem cells which have caused controversy in the past. They are capable of being grown en masse and kept in storage for when they are needed.

The study will involve 225 patients who have suffered severe heart attacks in the UK, Netherlands and Belgium. Initial results are expected after 12 months. There appears to be a very good chance that this use of the specialised stem cells will significantly improve the recovery from the operation as well as the survival rate.

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