LOS ANGELES, May 31, 2001 ( – A research team at the University of California has performed a transplant of cells from a heart-attack victim’s bicep muscle into his heart and the results look promising. Dr. Robb MacLellan, the group’s principal investigator, explained that skeletal muscle cells taken from the arm or leg may function in the same way as heart cells, hopefully one day making transplants unnecessary.

Dr. Gregg Fonarow, another UCLA physician who is working on the trial told the National Post that using the patient’s own muscle cells, called myoblasts, also allows scientists to sidestep the ethically thorny issue of harvesting fetal stem cells for research.

The transplants were carried out on Edward Cooper, a 65-year-old heart attack victim. His own bicep muscle cells were grown in a lab and then injected into his heart during a bypass operation. Cooper was released five days after and said “I feel wonderful” after his first checkup. While scientists must determine the amount of betterment due to the transplant versus the bypass, the first clinical trials on the procedure will begin.

For more see the National Post at:


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