Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Into the Heart

Doctors at two London hospitals will be injecting the hearts of heart attack victims with the victim's own stem cells. According to the Guardian article:

Several animal studies and clinical trials in Europe have suggested that an infusion of bone marrow stem cells, within several days of a heart attack, can repair heart muscle and grow new blood vessels.

But the British trials, at the London Chest hospital and the Heart hospital, will be the first to test whether the treatment works within the critical five hours after an attack.

Around 300,000 people in the UK have a heart attack each year and nearly half die, according to NHS Direct. Half of those who die do so from cardiac arrest - when the heart stops completely - within three or four hours of the start of the attack.

Astonishing. A quarter of all heart attack victims (in the UK) die within three or four hours from heart failure. If you can stop that by using stem cells to repair the heart, that would be amazing.

One doctor notes:

"Because the stem cells are taken from the patient themselves, there are minimal ethical issues surrounding this procedure. There is also less likelihood of rejection complications."

Per Autoplectic's point on the last post, one wants instead to say, "there are minimal ways in which anyone could pretend to object to this procedure on ethical grounds." I haven't yet heard anyone kick up a fuss about this, but it would be interesting to see how evangelical leaders handle this procedure.

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