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Mining fat tissue for cardiac repair

Stem cells from abdomen may boost recovery after the big one

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7:14pm, November 16, 2010

CHICAGO — Sifting stem cells from fatty tissue and shooting these nascent cells into the coronary arteries of people who just survived a heart attack may limit heart-tissue damage, researchers have found. The process, which takes a few hours, might rescue cells on the cusp of dying, said Henricus Duckers, an interventional cardiologist at Erasmus University in the Netherlands who presented the new findings November 16 at a meeting of the American Heart Association.

The small study is the first to reinfuse fat-derived stem cells into heart attack patients, he said.

Duckers and his colleagues recruited 14 people who had just survived a severe heart attack. All had undergone emergency treatment to reopen blocked coronary arteries. Surgeons removed fatty tissue from each patient’s abdomen and placed it in a machine that separates fat cells from stem cells.  The researchers then randomly assigned 10 of the patients to get the actual therapy, in which only

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