A revolutionary new means of implanting stem cells has been trialled on heart attack patients in Madrid.
A team of cardiologists at the University Hospital of Navarre implanted stem cells in 50 individuals who had suffered a myocardial attack. Their innovation was to use a catheter rather than open surgery.
Dr Juan Jose Gavira said that taking a culture of cells from the patient's own serum meant that "possible infections, allergies or immunological reactions are avoided, given that foreign proteins are not introduced".
After a month of growth, the cells are injected into the heart of the patient using a special injection catheter. They are then implanted in and around the damaged areas of cardiac muscle.
Dr Gavira said that participants could not have any other invasive therapy simultaneously and thus "the results obtained are much purer, given that no other treatment interferes with them".
The researchers continue to investigate the effectiveness of the treatment.
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