NRL News

Adult Stem Cells Grow New Heart Blood Vessel

by | Mar 21, 2012

By Wesley Smith

The good adult stem cell successes keep on pouring in. The latest: A little girl with a defective heart is being given a better chance at life. From the Wall Street Journal story:

Four-year-old Angela Irizarry was born with a single pumping chamber in her heart, a potentially lethal defect. To fix the problem, Angela is growing a new blood vessel in her body in an experimental treatment that could advance the burgeoning field of regenerative medicine. Doctors at Yale University here implanted in Angela’s chest in August a bioabsorbable tube that is designed to dissolve over time. The tube was seeded with cells, including stem cells, that had been harvested from Angela’s bone marrow. Since then, the doctors say, the tube has disappeared, leaving in its place a conduit produced by Angela’s cells that functions like a normal blood vessel.

“We’re making a blood vessel where there wasn’t one,” says Christopher Breuer, the Yale pediatric surgeon who led the 12-hour procedure to implant the device. “We’re inducing regeneration.” Angela, who had little stamina before the operation, now has the energy of a regular kid. She is on several medications, but Dr. Breuer and her parents think she’ll be able to start school in the fall.

“Embryonic stem cells are the only hope!” That used to be the mantra. But they can’t say that anymore, can they? Here’s the thing: It was never true.

Editor’s note. This appeared at Wesley’s great blog.

Categories: Adult Stem Cells