(LOS ANGELES) -- Doctors say it may be possible to mend a broken heart.
A small trial by physicians at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, reported in the medical journal Lancet, showed that damage caused to the organ after a heart attack can be healed using the patient's own stem cells from the heart.
When the heart is deprived of oxygen, a heart attack occurs. After an attack, parts of the organ can be left with built-up scar tissue which the body uses to replace the dead or damaged muscle -- but that compromises the heart's ability to pump blood around the body.
After applying the "cardiosphere" culture technique using stem cells from the patients' hearts, researchers led by Heart Institute director Eduardo Marban, MD, PhD, found that healthy heart muscle could be regenerated.
Though the trial's physicians note there was no significant increase in the heart's ability to pump blood, they were able to accomplish what has never been done before: growing healthy heart muscle in the place of scar tissue.
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