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Healthline Connects

Stem Cell Therapy Repairs Heart Damage

New research out of the University of Miami has found that stem cells can reverse the damage caused by heart attacks. The study used 53 human patients that were treated with the stem cell product Prochymal within 10 days of their first heart attack. The product – made by Osiris Therapeutics Inc., which sponsored the trial – was administered intravenously to ¾ of the patients. The rest received an inactive placebo.

The primary goal of the study, which was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, was to see if Prochymal is safe. There were fears that the cells could cause growth of unwanted tissue in the arteries or the lungs. However, this did not happen, and in fact, patients receiving the stem cells had fewer adverse events than those who were administered the placebo.

The study also achieved a secondary goal of the study – to find out of the treatment actually helped. Evidence showed that it did, especially in patients with the most damage. Researchers posit that this could be due to the emergency signals sent out by damaged heart tissue. These signals attract help from the stem cells; the more damage, the stronger the signals.

As many heart attack patients go on to experience heart failure, being able to repair damage caused by heart attacks would go a long way to reverse that trend.

While the study’s researchers warn that this is just a first step, they also see these findings as an important step toward widespread clinical use of stem cell treatment for heart patients. A phase 2 trial is currently enrolling heart attack patients.

Learn more about the steps you should take following a heart attack to guard against further complications..

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