Regenerative medicine is a relatively new concept in the U.S., although research into the use of stem cells to treat disease is more established in Europe. Since stem cells have the ability to differentiate into any type of cell, they have the potential to foster the repair of damaged tissue. As such, stem cell therapy offers great promise in the development of medical treatments for a wide range of conditions — including heart attacks.
"When someone has a heart attack, we shift into maintenance mode by prescribing medicines and other treatments to prevent another heart attack, but we can't reverse the damage that's already done," said Dr. Ahmed Abdel-Latif, assistant professor at the University of Kentucky's Gill Heart Institute. "With all of our advances in cardiovascular medicine, there is currently only one approved way to repair damaged heart tissue after a heart attack: with a heart transplant."
An average of 21 people die every day in the U.S. waiting for an organ transplant, according to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) and the Gift of Life Donor Program. Clearly, transplant isn't a very elegant solution due to the limited number of donor hearts available and the lifetime of maintenance required to avoid complications post... FULL STORY