Stem cell treatment speeds MI recovery

Treating acute MI patients with stem cells harvested from their own bone marrow can speed recovery, say Belgian researchers.

They found that patients who received an infusion of bone marrow derived stem cells within 24 hours of successful percutaneous coronary intervention had improved recovery of left-ventricle function and reduced infarction volume compared to a control group.

In the first double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the potential use of stem cells to aid heart attack recovery, bone marrow was harvested from 67 patients. Of these, 33 received an infusion of their own stem cells while the others acted as controls.

Cardiac MRI after four months showed the treatment group had, on average, myocardial infarcts 28 per cent smaller than the controls. They also displayed better recovery of regional systolic function but global left-ventricle function was unaffected.

Lancet 2006; 367: 113-21.

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