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Adult stem cells show promise for heart repair

A team of University researchers has found a stem cell in adult rat heart tissue that can make cardiac cells—offering hope that these cells could someday be used to treat heart injuries in people.

The researchers took tissue from rat hearts, added certain growth factors, and multiplied them in a dish. When the researchers injected the cells into rats with injured hearts, the cells repaired the damaged tissue.

“They appear at this time to be the ideal cell to use for cardiac repair,” says Doris Taylor, Ph.D., professor of physiology and director of the Center for Cardiovascular Repair, where the research was conducted.

Currently, a number of other stem cells found in bone marrow and muscle are being evaluated in human clinical trials, but Taylor believes the new group of cells she and her team have identified will prove more potent.

Further studies in larger animals will be needed before human trials can be attempted.

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