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Stem cell hope for heart disease

Stem cell hope for heart disease
5th October 2007

Scientists in Florida gave new hope to heart disease patients after they launched a new study to test whether stem cells injected into the heart will prompt new vessels to grow and thus restore blood flow.

The experimental tests will be carried out on patients with severe coronary artery disease and chest pain who have failed to respond to traditional medications or surgical procedures such as angioplasty or bypass surgery.

"The general idea is that by providing these cells of blood vessel origin, we hope to either generate new blood vessels from the growth of these implanted cells or stimulate the heart to regenerate new blood vessels from the cells that reside in it," said Carl Pepine from the University of Florida.

Some 15 heart disease patients will be studied to see whether injecting their own stem cells into the heart can help treat reductions in blood flow and therefore improve their symptoms. The researchers will also examine whether the therapy can boost their quality of life and their tolerance for exercise.

According to government statistics, coronary heart disease kills more than 110,000 people in England every year and is the biggest cause of death in the country.

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