Final results of a study conducted at Johns Hopkins University show stem cell therapy can be used effectively to treat heart attacks in pigs.
Researchers said 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 stem cells used in this study were not embryonic stem cells, they were mesenchymal stem cells derived from bone marrow. 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.
However, this isn't the first study that is showing how adult stem cells can help repair heart damage. LifeNews reports that:
A University of South Florida research team injected human umbilical cord blood stem cells into the hearts of rats an hour after a heart attack. The researchers found that the stem cells greatly reduced the size of damage, restoring the heart's pumping function to near normal. In addition, scar tissue was minimized.
In Thailand, Chaophya Hospital is now treating no-option heart disease patients with adult stem cell therapy developed by TheraVitae. The proprietary technique is aimed at helping those with coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure utilizing adult stem cells harvested from the patients own blood.
Robert Clark, TheraVitae's Chairman, comments, "Our message is that, unlike the cell cloning technique announced in South Korea ..., which has serious moral and ethical implications, and will probably take years to develop into a viable therapy, our technique is helping patients today."