The 4-month-old on the operating table has a shocking birth defect, nearly half his heart too small or even missing…In a bold experiment, doctors injected donated stem cells directly into the healthy side of [his] little heart, aiming to boost its pumping power as it compensates for what’s missing.
It’s one of the first attempts in the U.S. to test if stem cells that seem to help heart attack survivors repair cardiac muscle might help these tiniest heart patients, too.
[D]octors are conducting this early-stage study of whether stems cells might help that ventricle work better.
“This is very different than a surgical approach or giving a medicine just to treat the symptoms. This is trying to treat the underlying problem,” Dr. Kristin Burns, a pediatric cardiologist at the National Institutes of Health.
Even in adults, stem cell regeneration is highly experimental. But small studies involving heart attack survivors and older adults with heart failure have found what Dr. Denis Buxton, a stem cell specialist at NIH’s heart institute, calls a modest benefit in how well their hearts pump blood.
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