A new trial has again proven stem cells’ power to dramatically alter human health.
In a first, a baby’s heart condition was erased by injected stem cells.
In the U.K., a baby boy was born with a condition called “transposition of the great arteries,” in which the two main blood vessels entering the heart have taken each other’s usual position.
As a result, blood that has been circulated through the body and depleted of nutrients is returned to the heart and immediately recirculated back out instead of having its oxygen and nutrients replenished.
Roughly one in every 3,400 babies in the U.K. and U.S. have the anomaly. About 90 percent of babies born with the condition die before their first birthday.
Four days after being born, the baby underwent open-heart surgery to correct the problem, but his condition worsened after the operation.
In an attempt to save his life, the doctors offered the parents an option never before tried: sewing a patch of donated stem cells directly onto the damaged heart.
In theory, the stem cells will grow to become normal heart tissue as the child develops, eliminating the need for successive surgeries to replace old patches as the child ages.
Within two weeks, the baby’s symptoms began to ease and now are continuing to fade.
TRENDPOST: By mid-century, stem cell therapies will be in routine use to correct an array of common birth defects and to make one-time fixes to what have been chronic conditions.