By Clyde Hughes – Re-Blogged From Newsmax Health
Heart failure could be reversed by a new stem cell therapy now on trial in Britain that could cut out the need for surgery as the treatment revitalizes damaged tissue by cells harvested from the patient’s blood, the Express reported Monday.
Dr. John Hung, a cardiology specialist working on the stem cell trials in Edinburgh, told the Express that because anyone can have the treatment it has the potential to save huge numbers of lives and cut medical bills for the future care for heart failure patients.
According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, heart failure happens when the heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to support other organs in your body. About 5.7 million American adults suffer from heart failure while one in nine deaths in 2009 included heart failure as a contributing factor, according to the CDC.
“We think about one in five people who survive a major heart attack are likely to benefit from the therapy, and this could mean hundreds of thousands in the U.K. or many millions across the world,” Hung told the Express.
“There should also be health care savings from the reduced costs for medication, ongoing treatment, and recurrent hospitalizations,” he added.
The new procedure would boost the body’s natural healing process by delivering a large number of specific stem cells that repair the ruptured muscle and small blood vessels flowing into it, the Express wrote.
Past tries to repair the damage used non-specific stem cells from bone marrow rather than blood that were delivered indirectly to the heart by infusion, the publication said.
David Newby, of the British Heart Foundation Center of Research Excellence at the University of Edinburgh told the Express that he believed that therapy was “life changing” for those surviving a heart attack.
“In some ways stem cell therapy has been a little like throwing bricks at a bridge which has collapsed in the middle,” Newby said, per the Express. “In order for them to stay in place, you need a scaffold and the right bricks, and the hope is we have both.”