Stem cells taken from other people and have been successfully transplanted into a patient's heart to repair damage! What this means is that stem cells donated by strangers proved as safe and effective as patients' own cells for helping restore heart tissue!
Plus, stem cells could be banked for off-the-shelf use after heart attacks, just as blood is kept on hand now. Donation centers could pop up, and it could be like a blood-drive that shows up at your school.
The study used a specific type of stem cells from bone marrow, called mesenchymal stem cells, because they were believed they would not be rejected by recipients' immune systems — they lack a key feature on their surface that makes the body's protective antibodies see them as foreign tissue and attack them. This is also good news for the stem-cell naysayers out there because no embryonic stem cells were used!
Take that! Ha!
The cells, taken from the hip bone of donors with a needle, were then non-surgically put into the patient's heart through a tube in the groin area into the heart near there was scarring. A year later, the scarring had disappeared by A THIRD.
Here's what the researchers said:
"This cell therapy clearly had some clinical benefits and the mesenchymal stem cells from donors were just as safe as those from the recipient. Even in patients who had heart attacks several decades before treatment, both donor and recipient stem cells reduced the amount of scarring substantially, by one-third."
Like we said, the best part of this is that there's no need to match donors. Things are just ready, which allows the cells to be banked!
We live in wonderful times, people!
But, we'd also like to say that we shouldn't rely on this — and should take steps to prevent heart attacks in the first place! Get in shape, eat right, and sleep well!
[Image via AP Images.]