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Healing the heart with bone marrow cells

ents have mild heart attacks and others develop progressive and potentially fatal congestive heart failure. "We know that the number of c-kit positive cells decreases with age and that elderly patients don't recover from heart attacks as well as younger patients. The key for the older patients would be to find new ways to restore this particular subset of cells in their bone marrow," said Dr. Fazel.

"These findings have very important implications," noted Dr. Richard Weisel, Director of the Toronto General Research Institute, Professor and Chairman of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Toronto and co-author in this study. "Based on the knowledge we gained from this study, we can now design new strategies to enhance normal repair and regeneration for patients who suffered a heart attack." This concept is central to the exciting new field called regenerative medicine which aims to restore, repair and regenerate damaged organs rather than merely treating the symptoms of disease.

According to Dr. Weisel, "One treatment resulting from this discovery was to inject cells genetically modified to release large amounts of stem cell factor into the region of the heart injured by the heart attack. These cells increased the 'SOS' signals from the heart and enhanced the intrinsic regeneration of the heart and restored function nearly to normal. These results were recently published in The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery."


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Source:University of Toronto


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