Heart Stem Cells Show Promise

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From CBSnews.com

Can a human heart repair itself?  One heart is trying.

Heart attack patient Ken Milles is the first person ever to get an infusion of his own, laboratory-grown cardiac stem cells. Doctors at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute are trying to see if his own heart cells will fix the damaged area of his heart.

Milles is part of a 24-patient clinical trial, designed by Dr. Eduardo Marbán of Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.

The trial procedure begins when healthy heart cells are collected from the patient’s heart. Next, the cells are off to the lab, where more stem cells are grown, along with complimentary heart cells. These cells then create complex cardiospheres which, Whitaker reported, can actually start beating in the petri dish. Then, doctors insert the lab-grown stem and support cells into the damaged area of the heart, with hopes that patients like Milles will benefit.

In Milles case, doctors hope to repair an area scarred by a heart attack.

If it works in humans as it has in animals, CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports, the scarring caused by the heart attack, will begin to heal, the heart will grow new muscle, pump more blood — and perhaps give the patient a new lease on life.

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