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TV star's dad says experimental drug therapy gave him new life

Nov. 28, 2013 at 6:26 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- The dad of television star Blake Lively says he hasn't "felt this good in years" after an experimental procedure at a Utah hospital gave new vigor to his heart.

Ernie Lively was given a drug by University of Utah physician Dr. Amit Patel that contained high doses of genetically engineered DNA, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Wednesday.

The drug acts as a "homing signal" that causes the body's own stem cells to repair the heart.

Patel said the drug is delivered through a catheter into the back of the heart. Blood flow to the heart is blocked while the drug is "marinating" the heart.

The procedure was performed on 66-year-old Lively Nov. 7, and three other patients have since had the procedure.

"These are patients who we normally couldn't help," Patel said. "The only option would be a partial artificial heart or a heart transplant."

Lively, now recovering at home, said in a statement issued by the university, "I woke up this morning and told my wife, 'I haven't felt this good in years."

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