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Heart injuries could be healed by tiny magnets

18th August 2009

UK research has shown that heart injuries could be treated by injecting magnetic stem cells to repair the damage. 

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Animal testing revealed that the cells could be injected into the bloodstream and controlled with the use of a magnet.

The research was reported in the American journal Cardiovascular Interventions.

The cells were covered in tiny magnetic particles and injected into rats. Tests showed that the number of cells attracted to an injured site increased five times.

The magnetised cells are already used in America in order to make MRI scans easier to interpret and are "2,000 times smaller" than the width of human hair.

The study's senior author Dr Mark Lythgoe, of University College London, said the tests showed that research on human subjects could go ahead in three to five years.

He said it was possible that heart damage might "eventually be treated using regular injections of magnetised stem cells."

"The technology could be adapted to localise cells in other organs and provide a useful tool for the systemic injection of all manner of cell therapies."

"And it's not just limited to cells - by focusing tagged antibodies or viruses using this method, cancerous tumours could be much more specifically targeted," he added.

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Article Information

Title: Heart injuries could be healed by tiny magnets
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 12434
Date Added: 18th Aug 2009

Sources

BBC News
The Times
The Telegraph

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