Lasers to treat human heart after attack

August 12th, 2011 - 7:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 12 (IANS) A new laser technology has been developed that helps stem cells in the heart to reduce scarring of the organ immediately after an attack, claim Isrealite researchers.

A heart attack scars the organ’s walls, leaving them dangerously thin and incapable of pumping blood through the body efficiently.

But this new approach developed by Tel Aviv University researchers uses laser-treated bone marrow stem cells to restore cardiac health.

The treatment combines the healing benefits of low-level lasers — a process called “shining” –and bone marrow stem cells. Applying the laser to these cells a few hours after a heart attack, reduces scarring up to 80 percent, which is caused by lack of blood supply.

Uri Oron, who has developed the non-invasive method, says it is ready for clinical trial, the journal Lasers in Surgery and Medicine reports.

Oron and fellow researchers tried different methods, treating the heart directly with low-level lasers during surgery, and “shining” harvested stem cells before injecting them back into the body.

After a low-level laser was “shined” into a person’s bone marrow - an area rich in stem cells - the stem cells took to the blood stream, moving through the body and responding to the heart’s signals of distress and harm.

Once in the heart, the stem cells used their healing qualities to reduce scarring and stimulate the growth of new arteries, leading to a healthier blood flow.

Though the heart is known to have stem cells, they have a very limited ability to repair the damage caused by a heart attack, says Oron.

One of the initial attempts involved insertion of stem cells from the bone marrow back into the heart muscle, close to the heart’s blood supply, but with limited success.

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