Rebuilding the Heart: Marrow cells boost cardiac recovery

7:45pm, November 18, 2003

Experimental therapy that infuses a person's bone marrow cells into his or her damaged heart tissue is showing early success, scientists report. First tried in patients 2 years ago, the technique is designed to stimulate the growth of new, healthy heart cells. The treatment could help people who've had recent heart attacks, as well as those who've been battling heart disease for years, researchers said last week at a meeting of the American Heart Association held in Orlando, Fla.

When a coronary artery becomes obstructed in a heart attack, some heart-muscle cells downstream from the blockage die because they're starved of oxygen and nutrients. Other cells linger in a weakened state. The dead and dying tissue limit a person's stamina by restricting how vigorously the heart can pump blood.

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