Sydney - An Australian-led team has used human embryonic stem cells to regenerate heart muscle in monkeys, scientists said Thursday.
It was the most effective use to date of the technique to repair tissue damaged by heart attacks, raising hopes of new treatments for people with heart failure, the University of Sydney team said.
"We were able to show for the first time that from two weeks after transplantation these human heart muscle cells were beating synchronously with the host heart of a large animal," said cardiologist James Chong, who collaborated with researchers at the University of Washington.
The team injected around a billion heart muscle cells cultivated from human embryonic stem cells into the hearts of seven pigtail macaque monkeys, which had been damaged by induced heart attacks.
"The stem cell-derived heart muscle was able to replace damaged and dead heart tissue by up to 40 per cent," and was also irrigated by host blood vessels, Dr Chong said.
"These studies support the further use of human stem cell-derived heart muscle for heart regeneration which could one day be a cure for heart failure and replace the need for heart transplantation."
The results were published in the scientific journal Nature.