Valentine’s Day Stem Cell Wish: Mending Broken Hearts

At CIRM, our Valentine’s Day present came in the form of a paper published in The Lancet by grantee Eduardo Marban. He showed the results of a study finding that stem cells taken from the heart can help reduce scar tissue after a heart attack.

Marban, who is director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, spoke to our governing board earlier this year about the study, which forms the basis of a $5 million CIRM disease team award. You can read more about Marban’s research and see a video of his talk by visiting our earlier blog about the work.

CBS news had this to say about Marban’s results:

For the study, researchers tested 25 patients, an average of 53 years old, who had experienced heart attacks that had left them with damaged heart muscle. Eight patients served as controls and were treated with conventional treatments including medication, and diet and exercise recommendations. The other 17 patients received stem cells, which researchers derived from raisin-sized pieces of patients’ own heart tissue.

The researchers found that patients treated with stem cells experienced almost a 50 percent reduction of heart attack scars within 12 months of treatment, while the eight patients who received conventional treatment saw no reductions in damage.

We hope one day research such as this (and others funded by CIRM) will be mending broken hearts.

A.A.

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