“We are encouraged by our findings because they could pave the way to a non-invasive, promising new therapy for a group of patients who face grim odds,” said Fernando Figueroa, one of the authors of the study and a medicine professor at the University de los Andes.
“In heart failure, the heart’s muscles weaken and can no longer pump blood adequately throughout the body,” explained Ana Sandoiu
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Worryingly, the threat of heart failure is increasing among people in the United States; the number of people affected is currently set at 6.5 million, and this is expected to rise by 46 percent by the year 2030.
The authors of the new study note that previous research has already looked into the potential of stem cells derived from bone marrow for treating heart failure, but they say that umbilical cord-derived stem cells have never been examined.
These are a more desirable avenue for treatment, the authors add, as they are more accessible, do not pose any of the ethical concerns that embryonic stem cells do, and are not likely to elicit a negative immune response.