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Stem Cell Research to Combat Australia’s #1 Killer

By Anna Vlach, The Advertiser, July 11, 2006

Cardiovascular disease is Australia’s number one killer, but those afflicted by the disease may soon have optimism due to research conducted in Adelaide using stem cells.

Cells harvested from their own bone marrow will give patients a new treatment options utilizing purified stem cell technology.

While this new technology, which aims to create new heart tissue, is not intended to substitute current methods of treatment, it does give physicians another alternative for those patients who have not successfully responded to normal protocol which includes medication, surgery, and pacemakers.

The research, funded by the National Heart Foundation, is unique because of the high purity stem cells that are extracted from the bone marrow.

"There has been quite a lot of work in developing purification techniques with bone and cartilage, but its use in cardiac research is really only beginning," stated cardiologist Dr. Peter.

"Previously human cells were injected into rats that had had heart attacks and the damage was reversed or repaired a lot by new blood vessels formed in the heart."

Six months into the study, Dr. Peter said the team had already noted promising results.

University of Adelaide's Professor Stephen, Dr. Andrew, and Dr. Stan from the Hanson Institute are part of the team at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

The doctors intend to test the technology in larger animals first, such as sheep, and in two to three years begin clinical trials with human subjects.

"Should the treatment become available worldwide we would be looking at a 5-10 year time frame," Dr. Peter said.


 

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