Learning From Stem Cells: Helping a Broken Heart Mend Itself

December 4, 2014 8:24 PM

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Advances in modern medicine have helped save countless people from heart attacks over the past 30 years. However, one consequence of survival is that more people -- over 23 million -- are living with heart failure, where the heart does not pump enough blood to supply the body's needs. Heart failure is a vicious cycle: Injury to the heart results in muscle loss, which leads to further damage. While medications can help improve heart function temporarily, they often fail in the long term. Thus, the problem still remains: How do we permanently repair the heart?

One approach to solving this problem involves introducing adult stem cells into the heart with the hope that they will regenerate or repair damaged tissue. Many clinical trials are being conducted to test this exciting idea, but unfortunately the vast majority of these trials are not showing signifi...

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