Reported in the journal Nature Biotechnology, a study showed human stem cell treatment can possibly return the hearts' functioning to better than 90 per cent of normal in macaque monkeys with heart attacks.
Heart-failure that causes nearly 10 million deaths worldwide, is a condition caused by lack of blood flow. The stem cells will help "form new muscle that will integrate into heart so it may pump vigorously again," said Professor Charles Murry from the University of Washington.
"Our findings show that human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes can re-muscularise infarcts in macaque monkey hearts and, in doing so, reduce scar size and restore a significant amount of heart function. This should give hope to people with heart disease," Murry said.
For the study, the team induced experimental heart attacks in macaque monkeys.
Two weeks later, the researchers took heart cells that they had grown from embryonic human embryonic stem cells and injected them into and around the young scar tissue. Each animal received roughly 750 million of these human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes.