Stem cells studied for heart disease

May 13, 2005 at 6:20 PM
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PITTSBURGH, May 13 (UPI) -- Doctors at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center plan to inject stems cells into the hearts of patients awaiting transplants.

Researchers hope to study the procedure in five to 10 patients who are scheduled to receive transplants. They want to discover whether using a patient's own stem cells harvested from bone marrow is beneficial in congestive heart failure.

"Our study presents the unique opportunity to examine the heart several months after stem cell injections, when the patient's native heart is removed for organ transplantation, and we're hopeful we'll find the answers to everyone's questions," said Dr. Amit Patel, who is directing the research.

In laboratory studies, the stem cells regenerated new blood cells, spurring interest in a clinical trial. The research team plans to inject stem cells into 25 to 30 sites in the diseased heart and plasma into a different part of the heart.

They will be able to study the effect of the injections on the diseased heart once it is removed to allow the transplant.

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