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New stem-cell treatment allows broken heart to repair itself

June 9, 2011 - Washington

In a breakthrough on treatment of heart disease, scientists at the University College London have discovered a new stem-cell treatment that could allow the heart to heal itself after an attack.

Paul Riley and colleagues have identified a rich source of dormant stem cells in the epicardium, the innermost layer of the sac, which surrounds the heart, reports New Scientist

They also found that thymosin beta-4, a peptide naturally produced by the body, could reawaken and mobilise these stem cells to repair heart damage.

They showed that mice in the lab were more likely to survive a Heart attack if they had received daily injections of thymosin beta-4 a week beforehand.

Their stem cells were active within 24 hours of the attack instead of a week, and they produced larger numbers.

The treated mice regrew more heart muscle than the untreated mice and their hearts pumped better.


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