Monday, August 6, 2007

Stem Cells 'Can Repair Hearts'

STEM cells could repair damage caused by heart attacks, new research claims.

Scientists are studying the process that turns stem cells into specialised heart muscle cells.
And tests on rats have shown that modified stem cells can restore up to 90 per cent of a damaged heart's ability to pump blood.

The Nottingham University researchers are now trying to work out how to produce enough heart muscle cells to help humans. At the moment, they can only create a few million at a time, and each patient will need up to a billion.

The team must also come up with a way of delivering the cells to the heart and getting them to function there.

One of the scientists, Dr Chris Denning, warned that it could take years to complete the work. He said: "There are many problems to solve before we can consider using stem cells to treat heart attack patients."

An estimated 660,000 people suffer heart attacks in Britain every year and 108,000 of them die.

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