Marrow cells boost ailing hearts

8:46pm, November 21, 2005

From Dallas, Texas, at a meeting of the American Heart Association

Extracting cells from a heart attack patient's bone marrow and then inserting them into the person's heart via a catheter can improve pumping capacity, a new study shows.

Previous attempts to seed damaged hearts with marrow cells provided mixed results, but a research group in Germany reports clear gains in a 4-month trial in which patients and their doctors were kept in the dark as to who was getting marrow cells versus a placebo. It's the largest study to show that self-transplant can repair damaged heart tissue, says Volker Schächinger of J.W. Goethe University in Frankfurt.

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