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Stem cell therapy effectively treats heart attacks in animals

ymal bone marrrow stem cells are known to give rise to a variety of cell types, including bone, cartilage, fat, and other kinds of connective tissue cells such as those in tendons, as well as muscle, such as the heart. A stem cell is a special type of cell in the body from which all others grow and derive into the major specialized cell types of the body.

Using mesenchymal stem cells also avoided potential problems with immunosuppression, in which each animal's immune system might have attacked stem cells from sources other than itself. Because they remain in an early stage of development, mesenchymal stem cells do not trigger an immune response, unlike what would happen if more developed stem cells were used.

"While the bone marrow adult stem cells do not have the same potential to develop into different organ tissues as do embryonic stem cells, the use of adult stem cells in this study shows their tremendous potential in developing effective therapies for heart disease, and avoids the controversy surrounding destruction of embryos to obtain the embryonic variety," added Hare.

"Among its many benefits are that adult stem cells are readily available, meaning they can be extracted from the patient, no donor is required, and the cells can be simply reproduced if more are needed. In our animal experiment, the treatment regimen was relatively simple, requiring only injection to the damaged tissue. The therapy was extremely effective, allowing for almost complete recovery, with no serious complications, such as immunosuppression, which is a problem in organ transplantation. Now, we need to see how it works in people."

According to the latest statistics from the American Heart Association, in 2001, there were an estimated 565,000 new cases of heart attack in the United States, plus an additional 300,000 cases of recurrent heart attack. Almost 185,000 of all heart attacks were fatal. The AHA also estimated that 7,800,000 America
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9-Nov-2004


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