Bone Marrow Hope for Heart Sufferers
New hope for sufferers of heart disease
is possible, after research led by a University of Leicester surgeon indicates
that bone marrow cells injected into a heart can help repair damage from a heart
One million people suffer from heart
disease in the UK, of which 140,000 die each year.
The pioneering research gave injections
of bone marrow taken from 14 patients’ own breast bones during non emergency
heart bypass surgery and again at six weeks and ten months.
Within weeks areas of the heart that had
ceased to operate began to beat again, a finding of particular importance since
damage to the heart muscle cells is usually irreversible. Scar tissue resulting from a heart attack hampers the pumping of
blood through the heart’s chambers, which can eventually lead to heart
Professor Manuel Galinanes, of the
University of Leicester Department of Surgery (Cardiac), presented the findings
recently at an international conference in Chicago, USA.
|Professor Galinanes commented: “The
benefit [of transplanting bone marrow into scar tissue of the heart] could be
seen only six weeks after injection. The
technique is a new way to strengthen heart muscles after a heart attack.
Bone marrow not only can differentiate into heart muscle cells but also
smooth muscle cells, connective tissue cells and other types of cells to
reconstitute the entire structure of a tissue.
“We confirmed the scarring on the heart
muscle before and during surgery. The
ability to confirm the presence of scar tissue with dobutamine stress echo
before surgery and then confirm it again during surgery told us that the
affected area was dysfunctional and the abnormality was irreversible. We wanted to make sure that we were injecting the marrow into dead
tissue to ensure that the injection would not pose any serious risk to the
Professor Manuel Galinanes
The apparent ability of stem cells taken
from bone marrow to transform themselves into different tissue types means that
the implications of the research may be far wider than cardiovascular cases.
TO EDITORS: Further
information is available from Professor Manuel Galinanes, University of
Leicester Department of Surgery (Cardiac), telephone 0116 256 3031/2, facsimile 0116 250 2449, and email email@example.com
This document has been approved by the head of department or section.