Stem cell therapy regenerates primate hearts

10 October 2016        

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Research published today has shown that stem cells from macaques can be used to regenerate the damaged hearts of other macaques following a heart attack, which can lead to heart failure.

The researchers at Shinshu University in Japan showed that the approach can improve the ability of the damaged heart muscle to contract, and pump blood around the body, but also led to an increased incidence of potentially dangerous irregular heart rhythms. The paper was published in the journal Nature.

What we said

Our Medical Director, Professor Nilesh Samani, said:

"This research represents tantalising progress in our attempts to harness the potential of stem cells to treat the damage caused by a heart attack, which can lead to heart failure.

“The findings provide more evidence of the potential of stem cells, but there are still many challenges to overcome before this approach can be used to treat people with heart failure. For example, the study shows that the injected cells can trigger dangerous heart rhythms.

“The BHF is committed to funding research that will change the lives of people with heart failure. We have established research centres focused on the potential of stem cells and, with the public’s support, invested over £27 million into regenerative medicine research since 2010."

Mending Broken Hearts

Through the Mending Broken Hearts Appeal, we are funding research into regenerative medicine across the UK. This work aims to help repair the heart following a heart attack, which would benefit the majority of heart failure patients.

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