Cardiac stem cells could generate new heart muscle and vessel tissue and be used to treat heart failure, says a new research.
Scientists surgically removed tissue from the muscular wall of the heart's chambers in 21 patients.
They then isolated and multiplied the cardiac stem cells (CSCs) found there.
Most of the patients had ischemic cardiomyopathy (enlarged and weakened muscle due to coronary artery disease). Eleven also had diabetes. The average age of patients was about 65.
"Regardless of the gender or age of the patient, or of diabetes, we were able to isolate in all of them a pool of functional cardiac stem cells that we can potentially use to rescue the decompensated human heart," said Domenico D'Amario, author of the study and a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Harvard, Boston, Mass.
The study has been presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2010.