Using your heart to create the stem cells needed to heal your heart – huh?

Apparently there is a new technique called CADUCEUS; or for those of you whole don’t like hard to pronounce acronyms how about CArdiosphere-Derived a Utologous stem CElls to reverse ventricUlar dySfunction (boy talk about having to work hard to come up with an acronym eh), that at the end of its phase 1 trials is showing amazing improvements in patients suffering from heart attacks, and the resulting scarring.

The technique involves taking a small chuck from the afflicted heart, refining it into stems cells, and then reintroducing those cell into the heart to reduce scar tissue.

The study involved a group of 25 heart-attack patients, eight of which where the control group. The other 17 had a piece of heart muscle the size of half of a raisin removed during a small procedure. That piece of heart muscle was then used to create 12 – 25 million cardiosphere-derived stems cells (CDCs) and then in a second procedure those cells were infused back into the heart.

The result? An average scar size decrease from 24% to 12% of the heart.

Out of those 17, the researchers only saw one serious adverse reaction that they link to the treatment, though three more people in the trial and one control also had serious adverse events.

Conventional wisdom has had it that once heart muscle has turned to scar, it’s lost and can’t be regained — but this new method shows potential for fighting back to regain that musculature. Now, it just has to make it past phase 2.

via io9

Yet another area where stem cells are proving more than their worth in saving, and changing lives.