DUSSELDORF, Germany, Aug 27, 2001 ( – Scientists at the University of Dusseldorf Cardiac Clinic have achieved a world first using bone marrow stem cells to heal a man's heart. Prof Bodo Eckehard Strauer, extracted stem cells from the 46-year-old man's pelvis and injected them into his coronary arteries. The stem cells migrated to areas damaged by a heart attack and turned into healthy muscle cells, which began to beat.

The unnamed man suffered a serious heart attack which caused the loss of a quarter of his heart muscle. Four days later he underwent the stem cell operation. “Ten weeks after the transplantation the size of the damage has reduced by nearly a third and the capacity of the heart itself has clearly improved,” said Dr. Strauer. “Stem cell therapy could be more successful than all other previous treatments put together. Even patients with the most seriously damaged hearts can be treated with their own stem cells instead of waiting and hoping on a transplant,” he said.

“Our results should show that it is possible to do this work without the ethically controversial embryonic stem cells,” said Prof Strauer. Germany has banned experimentation on human embryos, and with this new study is championing the advances of adult stem cell research over the unethical embryonic stem cell research.