Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Clinical Trials Are Testing Stem Cells as Heart Failure Treatment

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“Researchers’ significant interest in using stem cells to treat heart failure arises, in part, because the disease is so prevalent. The American Heart Association estimates 5.7 million Americans live with the disease and 670,000 new cases are diagnosed annually. “When you put [stem cells] into a heart, some can differentiate to become blood vessel and others to become heart muscle cells,” explains James Willerson, president of the Texas Heart Institute in Houston and a principal investigator of a separate, National Institutes of Health-sponsored stem cell trial for heart failure. It is important, he says, that stem cells also “have substances that recruit other cells and promote life.” This combination holds incredibly powerful potential for not only rejuvenating but rebuilding organs and tissue and turning back the clock for ailing patients. Willerson is optimistic about the therapeutic future of stem cells, which can be extracted from fat cells, hair cells, and other diverse cell types. “I believe we will be able to regenerate the whole heart of a human being with stem cells,” he says.” US News
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