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Breakthrough could see stem cells used to repair arteries after heart attacks

Published on 27/04/2010
Scientists have discovered a new way to harvest stem cells which they say could be used to repair arteries damaged by heart attacks.

A team at the University of Bristol found that stem cells could be gathered from pieces of vein leftover from bypass surgery.

During such operations, surgeons remove a section of vein from the patient's leg and use it to divert blood around a blockage elsewhere in the body.

"The crucial point is that surgeons always cut out a longer piece of vein than they need, so there is always a leftover piece," explained Professor Paolo Madeddu, part of the team that made the discovery.

"We looked to see if we could get stem cells from those leftovers."

The team was surprised to find that a large number of adult stem cells could be extracted from the veins.

Testing on mice confirmed that these cells were able to stimulate new blood vessel growth.

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation, welcomed the discovery.

"This very encouraging and important advance brings the possibility of cell therapy for damaged hearts one step closer," he said.

Coronary heart disease, the most common cause of heart attacks, is estimated to affect 2.6 million people in the UK.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2010

Categories:  Medical
Breakthrough could see stem cells used to repair arteries after heart attacksScientists have discovered a new way to harvest stem cells which they say could be used to repair arteries damaged by heart attacks.A team a    tweet it on twittershare with your friends on Facebookshare with your friends on MySpaceBlog it on your LinkedIn profile

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