Using stem cells from patient’s own failing heart can help rejuvenate it and fight the disease, a new study has suggested.
The first trial of its kind found that this revolutionary treatment increased the pumping action of the organ and stimulated new tissue growth, the Daily Mail reported.
The improvements came about within a year, according to US scientists.
Previous trials have shown remarkable results by using patients’ own stem cells taken from different areas of the body.
But for the latest trial, cardiac stem cells, which have the capacity to transform into different type of heart cells, were taken from the heart muscle of patients showing debilitating symptoms such as breathlessness and fatigue.
Around a million stem cells were then infused back directly into the patient’s own failing heart, almost four months after they underwent bypass surgery for heart attacks.
Overall 16 patients with heart failure received the treatment and seven had standard care.
After one year, ‘pumping efficiency’ of the hearts of eight patients had improved by more than 12 per cent.
The results tripled the four per cent improvement researchers were actually expecting.
Although this was an early stage trial and studies at larger scales are needed, scientists do believe that the technique is very promising.
“If these results hold up in future studies, I believe this could be the biggest revolution in cardiovascular medicine in my lifetime,” said Professor Roberto Bolli, of the University of Louisville, who led the trial.