Stem cells repair damaged hearts - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Stem cells repair damaged hearts

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(03/28/14) - There is an experimental treatment under investigation right now that would repair the damage done by heart disease. It uses a patients own stem cells to do the repairs.

Debbie Minch is thankful for each day, "grace is what's carried me through this."

Ten years ago, at just 49, Debbie and her husband were told she would need a quadruple bypass, "now we are at the point where my heart is severely damaged and nothing is really helping."

Doctors said a heart transplant was her only option, but Debbie will soon find out if she will be accepted into a new trial that could use her own stem cells to help repair the once thought irreversible damage.

"Or even create new blood vessels within areas of the heart that have been damaged," says Dr. Jon George of Temple University School of Medicine.

First stem cells are taken from a patient's bone marrow. Then, using a special catheter and 3D mapping tool, the cells are injected directly into the damaged tissue.

"We have results from animal data that show blood vessels regrow in the patients that actually get stem cell therapy," says Dr. George.

It is a possible answer to Debbie's prayers. Right now, this treatment is in the early study phases.

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