Friday, September 6, 2013

Pioneering heart attack stem cell trial treats 1st patient (Canada)

Pioneering heart attack stem cell trial treats 1st patient (Canada)The first patient has been treated in a groundbreaking medical trial in Ottawa that could lead to a new way to repair damaged tissues following a heart attack. Researchers recently announced that a Cornwall, Ontario, woman who suffered a severe heart attack in July was their first test subject. The woman's heart had stopped beating before she was resuscitated, causing major damage to her cardiac muscle. The hope is that a new form of combined gene and stem cell therapy will be able to better repair her heart and those of potentially millions of other heart attack patients. The therapy involves injecting a patient's own stem cells into their heart to help fix areas that become damaged in a heart attack. Stem cells are a fertile regenerative tissue that can replicate into millions of new, healthy cells. But the Ottawa study, led by cardiologist Duncan Stewart of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, takes the technique one step further, combining the stem-cell treatment with gene therapy - which the researchers say is novel. "Stem cells are stimulating the repair. That's what they're there to do," Stewart said in an interview. "But what we've learned is that the regenerative activity of the stem cells in these patients with heart disease is very low, compared to younger, healthy patients"

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