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Stem cells help fix damaged hearts in monkeys

Heart stem cells
Heart cells grown in the lab from human embryonic stem cells can restore lost heart function for macaque monkeys. Will they do the same for humans? (UW Medicine via YouTube)

Medical researchers have restored the function of damaged hearts in macaque monkeys, using heart muscle cells derived from human embryonic stem cells. Now they want to do the same for humans.

The technique, detailed today in the journal Nature Biotechnology, could go into human clinical trials as early as 2020, said senior study author Charles Murry, director of the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

“I’ve been in research since 1984, and this worked better than anything I’ve ever seen for the treatment of heart failure,” he told GeekWire.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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