Laser-shined bone marrow stem cells reduce heart scarring after stroke

Combining the therapeutic benefits of low-level lasers — a process called “shining” — and bone marrow stem cells, a Tel Aviv University researcher has developed a new treatment to reduce heart scarring after stroke, in which the heart is injured by a lack of blood supply.

The effective, non-invasive treatment developed by Prof. Uri Oron of the Department of Zoology at TAU’s George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences is ready for clinical trials.

When the laser is applied to bone marrow stem cells a few hours after a heart attack, scarring can be reduced by up to 80 percent.

After a low-level laser was “shined” into a person’s bone marrow — an area rich in stem cells — the stem cells took to the blood stream, moving through the body and responding to the heart’s signals of distress and harm, Prof. Oron discovered.

Once in the heart, the stem cells used their healing qualities to reduce scarring and stimulate the growth of new arteries, leading to a healthier blood flow.

To determine the success of this method, Prof. Oron performed the therapy on an animal model.

Following the flow of bone marrow stem cells through the use of a fluorescent marker, the researchers saw an increase in stem cell population within the heart, specifically in the injured regions of the heart.

The test group that received the shining treatment showed a vastly higher concentration of cells in the injured organ than those who had not been treated with the lasers.

The discovery was recently reported in the journal Lasers in Surgery and Medicine.

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