Several studies showing the promise of stem cells for treating patients with heart failure have made headline news recently. However, all these studies dealt with adult patients only. New research appearing in this month’s STEM CELLS Translational Medicine shows that stem cells may have the same potential in treating children with congenital heart diseases that can lead to heart failure.
The study, undertaken by researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., looked at the feasibility and long-term safety of injecting autologous umbilical cord blood cells directly into the heart muscle at the pediatric stage of heart development. The study was conducted on pigs, due to their hearts’ similarity to human hearts.